Farewell Atlantis Project

I am so lucky to have been able to combine two of my passions into one epic summer internship: medicine and travel. Continue reading


Orthopedic Surgery

Wow.  The first word that comes to my mind.

Orthopedics was absolutely jaw-dropping.  Every surgery was dynamic and intense, yet generally short and sweet taking anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours.  I am not sure if it was the bone sawing, the prosthesis, or the encouraging doctors, but I could totally see myself becoming an orthopedic surgeon, maybe even a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

The orthopedic surgical team was a fun group of individuals who are all very good at their jobs, but still have a good time.  There was often music in the background of the OR and the surgeons and nurses all seemed to be good friends.

The surgeons and scrub nurses really went the extra mile to explain the medical procedures to me.  One of the scrub nurses was one of my students in the English class so she introduced me to the staff, told them to not say anything bad in Portuguese since I speak it, and basically explained that she loved me and they should too.  I was extremely flattered.  She showed me how they fit the prosthesis and pick the sizes from the storage.  They also let me have a birds eye view at the surgery.


  • Partial Hip Replacement
  • Complete Hip Replacement
  • Femur reinforcement – DHS (dynamic hip screw) & EMOS (Extraction of Osteosynthesis material)
  • Shoulder Dislocation – acromioclavicular dislocation
  • Total Knee Prosthesis

These surgeries were absolutely incredible.  Dr. António Melo and Dr. Luis Soares even let me take a photo of the knee replacement surgery.  It is quite graphic so *trigger warning*. Knee Replacement


Gynecology was a very different experience than what I expected.  There is such a hype about child birth, about the miracle of life, yet I found that the doctors and nurses were so accustomed birth that it did not phase them.  Since only some gynecological procedures are planned and some can happen at any instant, the department has many slow, quiet days and other busy days.  The doctors explained to me that you can never really anticipate any activity unless it is a planned procedure.  

While in gynecology I was able to see what I will consider 3.5 different procedures/events.  

  • Curettage – this is a procedure to remove tissue by scooping or scraping.  This was once an abortion technique, but now they use vaccum aspiration for that.  We were told that the patient had miscarried and that was the reason for the procedure.
  • Cesarian Section- a few cuts right below the abdomen and boom there is suddenly a baby! Quite literally felt that way.  
  • Tubal ligation “tubes tied” – after the C- section she had asked to have this procedure.  They tie a string on two sections of the fallopian tubes and then cut the region between the ties.  This is considered a permanent form of birth control. 
  • Natural delivery – it happened simultaneously with the C-section so I only saw the baby who was born at an early age and taken to neonatology.  (I only saw 1/2 thus the total of 3.5)

Although gynecology was very interesting, I think the babies were much cuter than the birthing process as a whole.  I do not think I will become a gynecologist, but sometimes it is just as important to find out what you like as it is what you do not like.