Welcome all to the fourth week of urological impressions - a new bladder. Unfortunately, in contrast to the title of this blog, my mentor Dr. Scherr and I have not yet developed a working artificial bladder (though if did make a bladder in one week - instant PhD for me!!!). My research project is starting to get take off, more so than the previous weeks. Briefly, I did a literature search of the various in vitro methods scientists have used to test stone formation of calcium oxalate on Mon. and Tues. I then reported back to my mentor of the different methods used; we decided to use one of the simpler methods described whereby we create a supersaturated solution of calcium oxalate by combining solutions of calcium chloride and sodium oxalate at the desired pH. I visited Dr. Scherr's lab on Fri. and met with Dr. Liu who is a biochemical researcher in the lab, unfortunately the chemicals that I needed were not on hand and can only be ordered on Tues. So till then I hope to refine my experiment a little more before we get started, though I suspect that I will only know more once I physically get to work on the experiments.
As for the rest of the week, I took some more fellow BME students with me to witness the glory of the daVinci surgical robot as it performed minimally invasive surgery to remove prostates. I also saw a left radical nephrectomy for the first time (complete removal of kidney) on a 43 yr old woman, who had kidney cancer which had spread into her renal vein prompting a complete removal lest the cancer spread further. I also went on rounds with Dr. Berlin of the Medical ICU with medical residents to diagnose and check up on the patients there. I must say I was rather depressed from seeing many very sick patients; some were in advanced stages of cancer and at least one was thought to be actively dying whereby he is slowly fading away. On the bright side there was at least two patients that have recovered very well from their ailments and were ready to be transferred to a less intensive care unit.
For this blog I would also like to attach a link to my mentor's website for those of you who are curious of the extensive work that they do in the urology department: http://www.robotic-prostatectomy.com. Also a shoutout to all of the residents who were patient enough to teach me some anatomy during the surgical procedures, so that I would have at least an inkling of what was occurring during the procedures: thank you very much!
And I'll see everyone next week!