TALES from the O.R. Vol.5 THAT’S NO TUMOR



After getting shown the door for my outstanding Laparoscopic skills, I went to work for an agency. Unfortunately, when you work for a Temp Agency, you get all the crap nobody else wants.

I, like many others, were sent to a well-known HMO on the west coast. So with my pride in one hand and my surgical skills in the other, I became popular with many HMO surgeons.  One day I was scheduled to do a simple “Bowel Resection”.  I had gotten to know the senior resident. We’ll call him Jeff.  Jeff was excited one particular morning because he was doing a lower GI tumor resection without a Staff man in the room.  He was riding without his training wheels.  All I can say (and I don’t mean this to sound arrogant) but thank God I was again the 3rd man in the room.

All was going as planned. It was a female patient and her legs were in stirrups.  I was between her legs.  After an easy dissection into the peritoneum it was time to get the intra anal resection device into place.  Yeah, it means what it sounds like.  It’s a unique device that’s used to go up the rectum and make a clean incision from inside the intestine.

As Jeff’s assistant switched places with me, Jeff said: “Hey Ace, wanna check out this tumor”? I really didn’t but I was polite because I knew how much it meant to Jeff so I said heck yeah. He said: “Hold out your hand”.  I did as he slid this cantaloupe sized mass into my hand.  It slid into my hand in such a fashion that I immediately told (We’ll call him Frank) Frank: “Frank! Hold on a second”.  Jeff asked: “What’s wrong Ace?” I ran my hand down what they assumed was scar tissue, but having spent years in GYN surgery, I slid my hand down the scar tissue and felt a Uterus.  I looked at Jeff across the table and said: “Jeff! Your bowel tumor has a Uterus at the other end of it”.

Frighteningly, this HMO had diagnosed her Ovarian Cyst as a bowel tumor. I guided Jeff’s hand down the fallopian tube and said: “Do you feel that? I think you’ll find a match on the other side.” I never thought that morning that I would be walking two General Surgery Residents through an ovarian cystectomy.  It’s not hard but also not that easy if you don’t know how to open up the capsule.  There were no GYN surgeons available plus we had already thrown the first pitch.  She was wide open on the table. All I can say is: “Thank God they didn’t needlessly remove a piece of her intestine.  If I was put on this earth for 2 reasons, it was to find that rag and stop Jeff from cutting out an innocent woman’s intestine.

What was my reward? (No good deed goes unpunished) I never got to see the inside of that Hospital again.  I guess for fear of leaking this story which happened back in the late 90s.  Who knows, perhaps someone from Time magazine will read my Musings and offer me a job.

Hopefully that lady is alive and well, walking through the park, listening to the birds singing and the wind blowing.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s