Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science Short Essay - Answer Key

Atul Gawande
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1. Why was Gawande concerned about the patient who had been shot in the buttock?

Gawande was concerned about the patient who had been shot in the buttock because when Gawande performed a rectal exam, his gloved finger came back coated with fresh blood. Then when a urinary catheter was inserted, it also flowed bright red.

2. What did Gawande have in his pockets during his first weeks of surgical training?

Gawande had many items in his pocket during his first weeks of surgical training. He had patient printouts, laminated cards with instructions for doing CPR and using the dictation system, two surgical handbooks, a stethoscope, wound-dressing supplies, meal tickets, a penlight, scissors, and some loose change.

3. What type of complications had occurred from residents putting in a central line?

There were many complications that could occur from residents putting in a central line. There could be bleeding or lung collapse. One woman had died from massive bleeding when a resident lacerated her vena cava. A man had to be operated on when a resident lost hold of the line and it had to be removed surgically. One man had had a cardiac arrest because of the procedure.

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