Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What in Blue Blazes is Going on Here?

Surgery can be full of  unexpected findings, from bizarre anatomical variations to finding Crohn's disease in the midst of an appendectomy.  Dr. Slambow, my favorite old time general surgeon always hollered out "What in blue blazes is this?"  when he encountered  a surprise. I guess it was his attempt to find a polite way of asking "What the Hell?" Anyhow, that blue blazes  phrase always pops into my mind when I can't figure something out. The above photo circa 1900 really had me stymied. I had to peruse volumes of ancient text before the image was explained. Here are some of my speculations followed by a description of what is actually going on.

It is definitely unpleasant: note the restraining belt on the youngster in the second chair from the left. We used to restrain kids on "papoose" boards with Ace Bandages. It used to creep me out to inflict such trauma an a patient so helpless. Maybe they are budding nurse anesthetists learning how to drip ether on an open mask, on the other hand they look much to alert for this activity. Maybe they are learning how to do tonsillectomies, but why the group treatment? There is little concern for privacy, no wonder they passed the HIPPA law. Maybe it's not so bad and they are just learning how to check temps. Maybe this was before the use of NG tubes and they are force feeding. That person sitting in the back could be the food preparer. Maybe they are learning how to suction after the kids aspirated food. Beats me, it's time to reveal the true action

This is actually a photo depicting the training of dental hygiene personnel. If these are the hygienists, I'm putting my running shoes on before meeting the dentist!

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