Q&A

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Deborah Rusy

Anesthesiology / UW Health

 

What do you like best about your job?
My job often consists of high-stress situations requiring immediate decision-making responses and patient treatment. As anesthesiologists, we place patients in a state of controlled unconsciousness for surgery, and are then the physicians responsible for the maintenance of their vital physiologic parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate and respiration and for the resuscitation of their body fluids [blood, crystalloid] and electrolytes. Emergent surgical patients often come to us in a critical state, sometimes dying, and it is our job to resuscitate them and keep them alive while the surgeon repairs their damages. Although I enjoy the challenge of this critical, rapid-paced thinking and provision of care, probably the most rewarding part of my job is the gratification my patients show me for my care following their successful surgical procedures.

Tell me about a patient you’ll never forget.
I do several medical mission trips a year to different countries. I’ve provided anesthesia, I think, in about ten different countries now, and I travel with both our University of Wisconsin surgeons and an international nonprofit group [ReSurge]. That’s a patient I’ll never forget [pointing to photo on a nearby brochure]. That’s Gian. She was burnt in a fire when she was about a year old and had facial burns and essentially burns all over her body, and we’ve done reconstructive surgery on her and she’s now a happy ten-year-old child. I’ve taken care of her three times. 

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