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to ask if you would be happy to be operated on by a pregnant surgeon...

(137 Posts)
Evie2014 Wed 26-Feb-14 02:35:50

… who had been up all night with various pregnancy-related issues?

I'm 23 weeks pregnant with twins, and I've been up most of the night with preggo rhinitis, a grumbly tummy and the usual pregnancy insomnia. I'm heading into at least a 12 hour day at work, which will involve supervising people, directing teams and making relatively important decisions. I have quite a responsible job. Calling in sick isn't an option.

I average one day a week at the moment where I go in to work having managed an hour's sleep (despite going to bed early). I can honestly say that never in my professional life have I performed as badly as I do on those days. I've been making stupid rookie mistakes as a result of the awful state that comes from being pregnant, poorly and sleep deprived.

In the past, I've gone to work with ludicrous hangovers where I was probably still drunk from the night before blush. I definitely still performed better and made fewer mistakes on those ridiculously hungover days than I do during the present sleep-deprived pregnant days. (Pregnancy. The free hangover that never ends.)

I've learned from previous days like this. I'm going to warn two of my colleagues to keep an eye on my work today, in case I make a mistake. I have a lovely supportive team so that's not going to be a problem. However, there's no getting away from the fact that today is going to suck. I had a little cry in the bathroom as I pulled my exhausted body out of the shower just now, and then snuffled and said to myself, "Well, Evie, at least you're not a neurosurgeon. You can't kill anyone today."

But what if I WERE a neurosurgeon? Would you be happy for me to operate on you?

ILiveInAPineappleCoveredInSnow Wed 26-Feb-14 02:41:15

Nope. Don't go to work, you and baby come first. The world will still go on without you and your workplace will cope.

ILiveInAPineappleCoveredInSnow Wed 26-Feb-14 02:42:42

And I speak this as someone sat BF a 16 week old so I have recent experience!

Just think how you would feel if something happened to you or baby- you'd always wonder if you had taken the day off and stayed in bed of it would have helped.

Seriously, do not go in!

StarSwirl92 Wed 26-Feb-14 02:59:32

Wow, that was uncalled for.

Innogen Wed 26-Feb-14 03:06:48

What was uncalled for?

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Wed 26-Feb-14 03:13:08

Sorry but if you are sick and being responsible and functioning well is crucial to your job and patient safety then calling in sick SHOULD be an option iMO.

differentnameforthis Wed 26-Feb-14 03:14:14

The pregnancy is a red herring. You have been up all night, pregnant or not, surely you are not in the best state to operate on any one?

SlinkyB Wed 26-Feb-14 03:16:55

Call in sick for sure. If your team are as lovely as you say, they'll understand.

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 26-Feb-14 03:24:06

Read the OP- Evie isn't a surgeon and didn't actually ask for opinions on whether she should go to work!! confused

FWIW, no I wouldn't want to be operated on by someone sleep deprived. Or flown by a sleep deprived pilot. But I guess it must happen... Maybe they get enough adrenaline to see them through? Because (touch wood) there aren't many plane crashes so they must cope somehow I guess.

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 26-Feb-14 03:26:50

And I hope your day doesn't suck too much Evie flowers brew

Bubblegoose Wed 26-Feb-14 03:29:40

I'd hope my surgeon would be intelligent and self aware enough to decide whether she was capable of operating that day. I would hate to think my brain surgeon had asked colleagues to watch out in case they made a mistake!

Sharaluck Wed 26-Feb-14 04:19:28

This op confused me confused

If op is a surgeon she definitely shouldn't go to work.

Just as she shouldnt if she was a bus driver, nursery nurse, cook, pharmacist, gp, or any other position where a sleep deprived state could cause injury/harm to another.

But if she is in an 'ordinary' job then she needs to make her own decision. She risks being sacked for poor performance etc.

(And she shouldn't be driving to work either).

YankeeMum8 Wed 26-Feb-14 04:39:38 Before you mentioned how bad off you were I'd have said yes though. And honestly the hung over part doesn't sit well either truly. Calling in is not an option and you have a responsible job...I get it...but maybe the truly responsible thing to do would To be irresponsible!! If you a surgeon, that is.

DailyBread Wed 26-Feb-14 05:00:32

I don't understand. Are you a surgeon or not?

Sounds like you need a period of sick leave.

But if you are saying absence is not an option, then I don't know what you are hoping to gain from the thread?

If it's just sympathy, I can certainly give you that.

If you are a surgeon, I'm not thrilled by your hangover anecdote.

SelectAUserName Wed 26-Feb-14 05:01:17

How is "calling in sick not an option"? Are you the one person in the world who IS indispensable, OP?

I'm sure your job is very responsible. If you've been good at it, the people you supervise will have been empowered to cope without you, the teams you direct will know their function and purpose without you standing over them and they will all know the limits of their decision-making authority, who to refer to in your absence and what can wait until you're back. How do they manage when you're on holiday? On a training course?

Since you're prepared to give two colleagues extra responsibility anyway by expecting them to act as your "safety net", why not just give yourself a break, call in sick and rest up properly. And there isn't (or shouldn't be) any risk of being "sacked for poor performance" as pregnancy-related sickness absence MUST NOT be counted by an employer for the purposes of inefficiency recording and procedures - to do so is direct discrimination.

OrangeMochaFrappucino Wed 26-Feb-14 05:52:35

Glad that you are not a surgeon! However, all of my medical knowledge is gleaned from watching ER and as far as I can tell from that, doctors do work on extremely little sleep and it seems to be part of the job whilst training at least, which is an unsettling thought.

Getting signed off in pregnancy is always an option imo. I am not King of the World but it's still an inconvenience and a hassle if I call in sick to work but during both pregnancies I have had to because I needed to put my health and my baby's health above the requirement to do a substandard day at work simply for the sake of showing my face and being there. I have cancelled important meetings and unfortunately had to let people down - it happens. I think that your workplace would probably function without you.

I would like to imagine that someone with a job like a surgeon would plan ahead and make back-up arrangements if their health were to be compromised by a difficult pregnancy or an illness and that they would be signed off work if unfit to operate - I hope neurosurgeons don't just soldier on when they aren't capable and I hope they aren't expected to!

LoopyDoopyDoo Wed 26-Feb-14 06:00:25

This is ridiculous. As someone who suffered stillbirth of a twin, I can absolutely, categorically say that forcing yourself to work harder when you are exhausted and ill can have dire consequences.

Grennie Wed 26-Feb-14 06:00:52

I thought for neuro surgeons there were strict guidelines so that if they hadn't slept well, for whatever reason, they are supposed to say, and not operate?

curiousuze Wed 26-Feb-14 06:04:36


OP, go back to bed!

differentnameforthis Wed 26-Feb-14 06:18:41


Oh my God READ THE TITLE!!!!

charitygirl Wed 26-Feb-14 06:19:08

God, this thread really illustrates the, um, declining standards if intelligence on MN. She's not a surgeon. It's a hypothetical question.

In your real sitch, OP, you probably can't have a day off every time you have a bad night, but do try and have the odd one.

charitygirl Wed 26-Feb-14 06:20:19

People are saying 'I don't understand', 'I'm confused'...

Sleep deprivation?

sashh Wed 26-Feb-14 06:21:35

I would worry more about something being missed in a clinic, operating theatres have IMHO a supply of adrenaline that perfuses the air.

A neuro surgeon (well any surgeon) won't be working alone. How is being sleep deprived from pregnancy any different from being sleep deprived from something else when it comes to the morning after?

differentnameforthis Wed 26-Feb-14 06:21:55

In her title she asks if we would be happy to be operated on by a surgeon.

In her post all she says is 'at least you're not a neurosurgeon' But if I recall, there is more then one type of surgeon.

You can see where the confusion comes in.

ahlahktuhflomp Wed 26-Feb-14 06:25:09

If you were a neurosurgeon, no I would not want to be operated on by you.

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