Working life: Karuppiah Mahalingam, orthopaedic surgeon

Karuppiah Mahalingam, orthopaedic surgeon, Mater Private Hospital, Cork

6am

I’m up early to have breakfast with my wife Mary. I usually prepare the cereal and Mary makes a pot of Barry’s Tea, my favourite. Then it’s just a short drive to the hospital.

7.30am

After finishing any correspondence, I do a ward round to review the patients that I operated on the day before. I then confirm that my first patient has arrived and is prepared for surgery. I always meet up with the anaesthetist and theatre manager to review our surgical list and ensure our day goes according to plan.

8.30am

I enter the theatre and prep for the first case. In the morning I generally do three hip and knee replacements for patients I have seen previously in my outpatient clinic. I perform an anterior ‘bikini’ approach for the hip replacements because the surgery involves a smaller scar and the muscle around the joint doesn’t need to be cut, which helps to shorten recovery time for many of my patients.

1pm

We break for lunch and I drop up to clinic as often I get a call to see a patient whose condition may not wait for my next clinic. Then I usually do a full ward round to review my inpatients. On the way back to theatre, I detour to the emergency department to see the referrals my colleague Dr Oisín Powell has asked me to review.

2pm

Back into theatre and I continue the day’s list which usually consists of another two hip replacements and some other surgeries for conditions like knee tendon ruptures or cartilage problems.

5pm

After my routine list, there tends to be one or two patients with a fracture or limb injury from the emergency department so I try to do them before going home so they don’t have to wait until the next day.

6.30pm

Last ward round. I visit all the patients I performed surgery on and check results of any tests that I may have prescribed earlier in the day.

7.30pm

Home again for supper with Mary and if it’s still light I sneak out to the garden and hit a couple of golf balls, my favourite pastime. Unfortunately I don’t get as much time as I would like to play.

n www.materprivate/cork


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