What do you call a/the day that everybody remembers?

After graduation from PCO with a D.O. degree, I moved to Bay Village, Ohio to do my one year internship.  At that time, 1963 fall,  we were considered practicing doctors and took the internship so that we could be further reviewed and trained by people other than the med school.  I had hear good things about Bay View Hospital, I had an aunt who lived very nearby and I stayed with her for a short time, before moving into the interns quarters which were on the 4th floor.  The steps from the hallway leading up to my bed…were right across from the labor room.  Need I say more?  Well, it so happened, that the very first CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) class was being given at Cleveland Clinic.  It was a week long course with long lectures of subjects pretty new and foreign to us, and it had a live dog lap where we used internal paddles to shock a dog heart back to normal rhythm.  A member of the Vineberg team of the first cardiac revascularization efforts, was the main lecturer.  One day, we were in class and a knock came to the door.  A man motioned the professor out of the room, and when he came back in, he said “Ladies and gentlemen, the class will be dismissed immediately and If and When it restarts, you will be notified.  The president has just been assassinated!”  He and we, were in shock.  We didn’t know if we would be at war in the coming hours or not.  It was very surreal.  John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.  And I remember 9/11 too; only too well.

Not in the same vein, but related…some months later, there was a large meeting of the Cleveland area physician association (it probably has a better name) and it was being held in a large hotel in downtown Cleveland.  The meeting was about CPR and the first class.  There were probably a couple hundred or more doctors there, as well as interns and residents.  Just as we were leaving, a man collapsed in the lobby and I ran to him.  Ron Sanker, the other intern was with me and we realized he was in a major cardiac event and needed CPR fast.  My then wife, Fran, took my car keys and ran a full block to my car to get my medical bag.  Can you believe we actually carried them then?!  Ron and I performed CPR on him and as soon  as Fran brought my bag, we gave him an intra-cardiac injection of adrenaline using a syringe and spinal needle. (can you believe we carried THEM TOO?)  He was still alive when EMS arrived and transported him to Cleveland Clinic.  Ron and I had half a dozen docs walk up to us to congratulate us and say they want us to be around when their own big one hits.  What a memorable moment.

The following year, Dr. Foster had done a Tonsillectomy and the patient had been taken to ICU which was the standard recovery room at that time.  Relatively short recovery from ether anesthesia in a child, and it should have been fine.  I got a call to come now.  I ran up the 3 flights of stairs and the little 10 yr old black boy had no pulse or blood pressure and wasn’t breathing.  I retubed him and started compressions when Paul Weiss came in and told me to open his chest.   I was totally shocked, but it was almost the logical thing to do.  As I was instructed, I opened his chest and began manual compressions of his heart.  It would not fill.  I tried.  I tried almost to the point of tears, but it wouldn’t fill.  I never did know why.  I can never forget that experience.

Of course…I should include my very first day as an intern.  We had to wear those “intern shirts” that buttoned up the side and were starchy and uncomfortable but they made Steve feel good I suppose.  So, being anxious and alive and a shiny new doctor, of course I had to go in early so as to be on time.  I walked into the E.R. just in time to see them pronounce a 3 yr old girl that was found at the bottom of the family swimming pool.  Medicine isn’t always exciting.

One more “first day” story.  I got a work for money job with an unusual position from Drs. McNeal and Myers.  I could work as an orderly at the hospital when I had free time and when I wasn’t “busy”, I could dictate their charts for $5.00 a chart.  Oi.  Good thing this is post-mortem for them or all hell would let loose.  They would bring in a patient and do a procedure on them, and discharge them, and bill them. (I don’t recall insurance existing then, but perhaps)  But the charts would lack either a history and physical, or the surgery dictation, or both.  I learned how by reading charts that Were done properly and then I’d sit and dictate to match the patient with the procedure, and I was Very Good At It. 🙂   And it SURE came in handy when I started doing procedures and assisting in surgeries in the following years.

I remember assisting Jake Lutzinger D.O. in tonsillectomies and more.  We always had to write the orders for the doctor we assisted as a thank you for the privilege.  We also had to write the narcotics number for any narcotics ordered.  Jake would always remind me to not forget his narcotic number  “3”!!

During my first day as an orderly at Clarion Osteopathic Hospital.  One would think I had a problem with firsts.  I was the only male in the hospital when I was called to go to the E.R.  The local EMS (and believe me they were nothing like todays!) brought in a guy…loaded onto the gurney from his bed by just lifting the bedcovers and him all in one group, and then unloading him onto the E.R. exam bed in the same manner…and quickly grabbing their gear and leaving.  Leaving me alone…with this guy who had just tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest with a shotgun.  However, he missed by a little and succeeded in almost completely shooting off his left arm at the shoulder.  He was unconscious and blood was spurting everywhere.  I just grabbed instruments and started clamping.  By the time McNeal and Myers arrived I had the bleeding stopped and he was conscious, but still very drunk and in shock.  They called a priest to come see him and the priest rebuffed him for not coming to see him first and the guy threw up all over the priest.  They wheeled him into the O.R., and I watched as the docs finished the somewhat traumatic amputation, which was highlighted when they threw the arm, shoulder first into the bucket on the floor.  Strange sight seeing that arm coming up out of the bucket as if climbing out of a hole.  The poor guy died a few hours later.

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