Great Doctor Ling Ran Chapter 57

Chapter 57: Someone to Operate the Retractor

Ling Ran left home ten minutes earlier than usual and gave the young novice monk a packet of antacids, a packet of Nifedipine, and a box of Ma Ying Long Hemorrhoids Ointment before he sent the novice monk to the bus.

Dong Sheng found an empty seat in an adept manner. After waving Ling Ran goodbye, he took out a copy of 'Knowing Words'[1] and read it quietly.

Ling Ran stood across from the road. He waited for the bus to depart before walking towards Yun Hua Hospital.

Doctors felt the most at ease in the early mornings. Before they made ward rounds, they did not need to shoulder all sorts of responsibilities from the hospital. After they left their houses, they were not tied down by the yokes known as their responsibilities from home. They could be a free person for an hour every day.

Even though Ling Ran had not completely integrated into hospital life, he still very much enjoyed the time wasted during the journey.

Ling Ran only started focusing when the words 'Yun Hua Hospital', which were made of steel, appeared in front of him.

Ling Ran entered the hospital, got changed, and made his way to the waiting room, since all the interns usually gathered in the waiting room before being called out one by one.

"Doctor Ling," Nurse Wang Jia called Ling Ran. She seemed to have run here as her nose was slightly red and there was a drop of sweat on it.

Ling Ran stopped in his steps and looked at her.

"The head nurse asked me to work with you," Nurse Wang Jia said excitedly. "From today onwards. I'll follow you as you perform surgery using the M-Tang technique."

"Oh, alright," Ling Ran paused for a moment and said with a smile, "I'll be troubling you in the operating theater, then."

Wang Jia shook her head nonstop and said happily, "It's no trouble, no trouble. I will strive to learn."

A brand new surgical method was a challenge not only to doctors, but also to nurses. For a team to work perfectly together, apart from the doctors, the nurses must also be familiar with the surgical method. This was so that she could pass the doctor the right equipment at the right time, and fill in the gaps when the doctor focused his attention on one aspect to help him check if he had missed anything.

Before maturing into experienced resident doctors or even attending physicians, most doctors had experienced getting scolded by scrub nurses, told off by the surgical nurses, and told to hurry up by the circulating nurses. This was especially true for minor surgeries such as appendectomies because young doctors used these surgeries to practise. It was very possible that the nurses had assisted in almost a hundred cases of such surgeries. Very few of them could restrain themselves and say nothing when they saw a young doctor with clumsy hands who was unable to remove the patient's appendix even after trying for a long time.

And when it came to major surgeries such as those performed using the M-Tang technique, nurses could not just rely on familiarizing themselves with the technique over time. There were not many surgeries for the nurses to practice, either.

Therefore, many hospitals required nurses to participate in preoperative discussions of major surgeries so that they could learn the steps of the surgeries. Those who had other intentions would even familiarize themselves with and get to know the chief surgeon.

At this moment, Wang Jia already wanted to get to know Ling Ran while her eyes sparkled. Wang Jia followed him and asked, "Doctor Ling, you can tell me about the exact equipment and people you need, and I'll write a report."

"I don't really have any special requests." Ling Ran thought carefully. The M-Tang technique did not actually require any special equipment. Yun Hua Hospital could use at least three surgical methods when it came to the suturing of flexor tendons, and had launched at least ten new surgical methods in other fields. The M-Tang technique was naturally among them.

As a matter of fact, the suturing of flexor tendons had been carried out in Yun Hua Hospital's Department of Orthopaedics, General Surgery Department, and Emergency Department. The difference between them was simply a question of frequency and success rate.

A lot of the time, in hospitals, especially large-scale tertiary grade A general hospitals, the surgical methods launched were not decided based on the departments or the name of the departments, but by high-ranking doctors of the departments.

On the one hand, this was because various evaluations of professional titles and annual accreditations required doctors to launch new surgical procedures and surgical methods. Meanwhile, the skillful, prideful doctors often had new ideas and new interests. The hospitals would not only not stop them, but also provide support. You could also say that the hospitals would not be able to stop them even if they wanted to.

The Emergency Department was a large department in Yun Hua Hospital. Other departments would only cooperate with Huo Congjun to snatch business from the Hand Surgery Department. The only department who would not cooperate with Huo Congjun would be the Hand Surgery Department itself, of course.

Wang Jia thought that Ling Ran did not understand, and specially said, "It doesn't have to be special requests. You can raise any request. It'll be hard to raise those requests later if you don't bring them up now."

"Let's wait for there to be patients before making exact arrangements," Ling Ran said.

"If you want, there will be patients within a day. It's better if we arrange first"

"Department Director Huo found patients?" Ling Ran cut Wang Jia off.

The source of patients was the biggest obstacle when doctors launched new surgical methods. Because they could not make patients by themselves, they could only wait. This put many medical researches in very complicated circumstances.

For example, one of the achievements of Wu Jieping, an Einstein level medical scientist from Peking Union Medical College Hospital, was to confirm the existence of a new diseaseadrenal medullary hyperplasia. For there to be solid evidence of this disease, he took sixteen years, starting from 1960, to gather seventeen cases, with only one case per year on average. This sort of passive waiting made medical research similar to astronomy research.

Wang Jia could not understand what Ling Ran was thinking. Stupefied, she said, "There are a lot of people with flexor tendon injuries. There would be one in our hospital every few days. If you're in a hurry for one, we can call Emergency Medical Care and ask them to send more patients with flexor tendon injuries over. Besides, we can also ask Department Director Huo to notify the district and county hospitals. We'll probably be able to get a patient on the day itself if we're lucky."

With that sudden realisation, Ling Ran asked again, "How about my assistant? Who will be my assistant?"

"Department Director Huo." Wang Jia paused for a moment and added. "Because you don't have the qualifications to become a chief surgeon, it would be written in the surgical records that Department Director Huo is the chief surgeon and you are the assistant. However, you will take on the role of the chief surgeon during actual surgeries."

She stuck her tongue out as she spoke. "I reckon that Department Director Huo will talk to you when the time comes. Don't tell him that I told you about this beforehand.

Ling Ran nodded to show that he understood.

Not long afterwards, Department Director Huo summoned Ling Ran, as expected, to talk about the matter of who would be the chief surgeon and who would be the assistant.

Ling Ran did not care one way or another. He only requested, "I need a second assistant, just in case."

It was very ridiculous to have a department director as an assistant. Department Director Huo had a lot of work to do, and it was not possible for him to stay in the operating theater every day to run errands for Ling Ran. In reality, a lot of department directors were used to being the chief surgeon only in name and letting doctors under them perform the actual surgery.

Huo Congjun would probably only pay more attention to Ling Ran in the beginning stages. What Huo Congjun wanted was a larger Emergency Department instead of a large pair of shackles.

"I would have given you one even if you didn't ask," said Huo Congjun cheerfully. "Hmm... I'll arrange for Lu Wenbin to become your second assistant. He just finished his housemanship. Let him follow you and learn."

He would actually prefer to send an attending physician to learn from Ling Ran because an attending physician would be able to master the M-Tang technique in a shorter time. However, Ling Ran's status as a medical intern was too jarring and he had no choice but to send a resident doctor.

Ling Ran was even more indifferent towards this. What he needed was just someone to operate the retractor.

Translator's note:

[1] A book by Hu Hong, an influential Confucian scholar during the Song Dynasty. There is no English translation of this book.