At Kim’s words, the resident turned his head to the side, and found a rookie intern looking around at the medical staff. Anyone interested in the news about the hospital at all could not have not known about his name, Lee Suhyuk. His nicknames were not just one or two.
The resident stepped back, nodding his head.
Prof. Kim would give interns direct teaching like that, and they could understand him without any difficulty. However, they had some misgivings about his intention sometimes.
Aortic aneurysm surgery was mostly an emergency surgery. Yet, how could Prof. Kim yield the role of an assistant on the right to an intern? It was the first time an intern was involved in emergency surgery.
When Suhyuk came up at Kim’s calling, the resident stepped aside and looked at Suhyuk, and he thought like this: ‘When the patient’s belly was opened, he would get a scolding from the professor in a minute.’ Convinced of that scenario, the resident was ready to be on hand as an assistant at the professor’s calling at any given time.
Suhyuk, coming next to Kim, said, “Thanks.”
That reflected his genuine feelings. He expected to watch as an observer in the distance, but was instead given the role of an assistant.
With a smile, Kim asked, “You can do it well, right?”
Saying that, Kim recalled a past episode of Suhyuk participating in his surgery as an observer.
Prof. Kim was surprised several times when he heard Suhyuk’s murmuring in the back. Suhyuk had been mentioning the process to take well in advance about the process of the surgery he performed.
Today Prof. Kim wanted to find out the real value of his capability. At the same time, when he showed any small error, he was ready to replace him with the resident.
“I can do it well, sir.”
As soon as Suhyuk nodded his head, the surgery started.
“I’ll start surgery now. Scalpel!”
At Kim’s words, the nurse handed over a scalpel.
“Aortic aneurysm surgery should be done right from the start.”
Taking his hand to the target area, Kim moved the scalpel right away.
The skin was incised, and blood was coming out like drops of water.
The patient’s chest was opened, with the smell of burning flesh.
Right before their eyes, the red heart beating dangerously was visible clearly.
“Seems like the heart is beating slowly. Why is that?”
At Kim’s asking, Suhyuk replied, “Because of a cardiac rest injection.”
At his reply, Kim showed a satisfactory look. With one just glance, Suhyuk could understand what he meant. He knew it when he first saw him, when he woke up from his coma condition.
At that time Kim was an intern. Waking up from a vegetative condition, he calmly came up with diagnostics of his own condition and listed all the strange medical terms. Kim recalled how he was sick and tired of him after talking with him several times. Besides, Kim would flee from him who was troubling him with questions. He felt his face burning when he recalled such episodes.
Now he became an intern. He was so curious as to how far he had come in furthering his medical skill.
“It takes about 3 minutes for the heart to come to a stop.”’
At the perfusionist’s words Kim nodded his head, saying,
“You saw the image shot a moment ago. Can you locate the target?”
Suhyuk said shortly, “Yes.”
“Can you secure a view, so I can take a good look?”
At Kim’s asking, the medical staff were surprised. Did Kim really ask him to be his assistant? If that’s the case, it would carry too much risk. There might be delay in the operation time, and if he makes any mistake, that silly intern could damage the patient’s organs.
Completely unaware of such concerns by the medical staff, Suhyuk said, with shining eyes,
“As soon as the heart stops, let me start right away, sir.”
Kim nodded his head, and Suhyuk pulled away the thin and transparent surgery gloves covering his hands. The heart stopped now, and the perfusionist opened his mouth,
“I’ll keep his temperature at 27 degrees C.”
Kim opened his mouth, looking at Suhyuk,
“Show it to me.” Yeah, your capability.
Holding iron surgery equipments, Suhyuk put his hand into the patient’s chest.
When he pushed the organs beside the heart sideways a bit, he heard some sort of oozing sound there. Kim’s eyes shone sharply. He was ready to stop him at the slightest sign of a mistake. However, it turned out to be groundless fears. The bloated aortic aneurysm was cleary visible to Kim’s eyes. ‘I knew it!’
“Is the heart circulatory system running?”
At Suhyuk’s asking, Kim turned to the perfusionists, who then nodded their head.
“I’ll start incision right now. Suction!”
The suction making a loud noise was put inside the chest.
“Okay, just hold it like that.”
Kim moved the scissors to cut the blood vessels.
The blood compressed in the vessels surged, but did not splatter anywhere. Suhyuk was blocking it with his palm. Kim, shaking his head, smiled absurdly. He expected blood to splatter toward him, but Suhyuk moved one step faster.
“Nice, very nice!”
The assistant on the other side put the suction inside the chest and sucked all the stagnant blood. Dozens of surgery equipments were put in and outside of the patient’s chest.
With a scary sound the bloated aortic aneurysm was shown outside. Suhyuk looked at Kim.
From now on, nimble handling was the most important. A heart circulatory system was running as a replacement of the heart. Though blood and oxygen were circulating the body artificially, it could not work as good as the mysterious heart of the human body. Quickly connecting the blood vessels and fixing the heart would prevent complications.
“Give me the artificial blood vessels.”
At Kim’s words, the assistant handed him a white artificial blood vessel. Thick as a thumb, it looked like a warped lake. When this was connected to the blood vessels, the surgery would be complete.
“Resident Oh, please secure a view for me.”
The resident on the opposite side nodded his head.
“And hold the blood vessels for me, Suhyuk.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do it,” said Suhyuk without any hesitation.
Because blood vessel anastomosis must be done in detail, it is like blindfolded eyes without the microscope-attached glasses. Even the assistant holding the vessels needed the glasses.
Suhyuk stepped back without any regret. It was only right for him to step back because his eyes were not a microscope. Any little mistake would lead to delay in operation time and an accident.
Kim smiled at his action. He wondered what kind of reaction he would show, but it was what he had expected. Rather than being greedy, he was doing his best for the patient. Other residents would not step back easily because of their greed, and actually there were so many such residents.
“Nurse Choi, there is a microscope glasses near the heart circulatory system. Can you pass it to me?”
Suhyuk’s eyes opened wider. So did the other medical staff.
Was he ready to have the intern take care of the angiostomy too?
When everybody was thinking like that, Kim asked Suhyuk,
“Can you do angiostomy?”
With the microscope glasses, Suhyuk nodded, saying, “Yes, I can, sir.”
Suhyuk looked down at the patient’s chest.
The main artery was seen among the heart, lung and stomach.
“If I make any mistakes, I’ll take full responsibility.”
Kim nodded his head slowly, and demonstrated first.
When Kim reached out his hand, the assistant handed him a needle holder.
Then he started the angiostomy.
“Take a good look.”
Kim began to connect the artificial blood vessel with the main artery. He did it very skillfully as if he had done it many times before, and at that with a very fine technique.
So he was done with one part of the angiostomy. Now what was left was the rear of it.
Kim asked him once again, “Can you really do it?”
Suhyuk nodded as before.
“Okay, go ahead with it then.”
Saying that, Kim said to the medical staff with glaring eyes,
“I’ll take responsibility for what happens from now on.”
A resident, watching the situation with a suspicious eye, came to Kim, saying,
“Sir, how can you let a mere intern take care of the angiostomy?”
“Let me take responsibility.”
Talking to him quietly, Kim looked at the other medical staff one by one and they shut their mouths. Then, Suhyuk’s hands began to move.
While everybody there was looking at Suhyuk anxiously, only Kim trusted him strongly.
He already surpassed him in terms of medical knowledge when he first saw him.
What kind of masterly level did he reach by now?
Of course, theory and practice are different. Still, Kim found himself trusting him more and more, and when he showed any sign of mistake, he could stop Suhyuk.
Standing back, Kim watched his work closely. So did the medical staff.
They were so anxious about if he would make any mistake at all.
However, their anxiety was gradually turning into astonishment instead.
There was no error at all in is his technique, as if it was measured by a ruler.
The intern’s finesse in pulling the needle was sophisticated and neat.
Kim, standing with his arms folded back, smiled satisfactorily. His anxiety turned out to be a groundless worry. It was not important where he learnt all this. What was important was Lee Suhyuk was with him. Kim faced the medical staff’s eyes one by one.
It was like him asking them about their opinion, as if he praised his own son.
Everybody shook their heads, because what was really unbelievable happened right before their eyes.
Some of them were murmuring before they knew it.
“Oh, that really makes me go crazy…”
“Does this make any sense?”
They could not believe he was an intern.
Under the white surgery lights, Suhyuk moved his hands quietly.
Nothing was heard except for the sound of the machine. The medical staff became frozen like a stone statue, and Suhyuk’s voice was heard in no time, “I’m done.”
It was at this moment when the name of Lee Suhyuk was inscribed into the history of Daehan Hospital.
While Suhyuk was taking off his surgery gown, the nurse and resident spoke some words to him respectively,
“Nice job, sir!”
“Are you sure you’re just an intern?”
Some of them just shook their heads without saying anything.
Kim patted him on the shoulder.
Suhyuk bowed his head and said, “Thank you.”
“Well, it’s me who has to thank you, as you relieved me of the work I was supposed to do.”
Now, his surprise was gone and instead he had a new curiosity about him.
Suhyuk did the angiostomy without any difficulty.
How high is his level of masterly techniques? And what kind of doctor would he be over time?
At Suhyuk’s words, Kim grinned. What Suhyuk said was for them go to the recovery room of the patient. Patient, patient, patient. That was all that was on his mind all the time.
“Okay, let’s go.”
The patient woke up without any problem, and he was taken to the patient’s recovery room.
Kim had to calm down his guardians. As the dangerous surgery was finished earlier than expected, he could understand their concerns.
“Mr. Lee here did the angiostomy very well.”
“Thanks, sir. Thanks.”
“Will he be okay?”
At the guardian’s asking, Suhyuk smiled at the child holding his mother’s hands,
“Yes, he’ll be alright. The surgery went very well, so don’t worry. He’ll soon get up.”
Suhyuk waved his hands to the child, and he left the place first at Kim’s instruction that he go to the on-call office.
Then, he heard, “Mr. Lee Suhyuk!”
At the voice calling his name, he turned back his head.
It was Jang Kiwon, the son of the hospital director.