Are middle-of-the-night Web searches really a good idea?



If it’s 2 AM and you need to use an instruction manual on the application of a vacuum extractor, my advice is:

  • You need more time assisting and observing someone who knows how to apply that suction cup before trying it on your own
  • You’re just not ready to be in the delivery room on your own
  • If you’re better at forceps, or more comfortable with a cesarean section, go for it
  • Know your limitations; if you’re not sure, now is not the time (especially at 2 AM) to try and figure it out on someone’s baby
  • Call for help. You can’t learn the art of the specialty just by reading about it or taking a home study course…especially when it comes to childbirth.

Barry Kramer, MD
West Islip, NY

Two Web sites worth knowing

I appreciate having another valuable resource that is Internet-based for those 2 AM “consultations.” is a valuable tool.

I am reminded of Christmas Day a number of years ago, when I was presented with the management of a parous patient who had severe carbon monoxide poisoning. In that instance, it was that I relied upon to secure our hyperbaric team and dissociate the patient’s carboxyhemoglobin using our diving chamber. I am thrilled to report that her child is thriving—as is my patient. I suspect that Dr. Barbieri may have been hesitant to refer to the site he edits, but I consider it too valuable a resource to go unmentioned.

Brent N. Davidson, MD
Service Chief, Women’s Health
Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital
Detroit, Mich

Dr. Barbieri responds: A Web site cannot take the place of thorough training

I agree with Dr. Kramer: If a clinician is completely unfamiliar with vacuum extraction or any other procedure, no Web site can make up for that lack of preparedness. The best remedy then, as Dr. Kramer points out, is further training or supervised practice.

When a physician wants to refresh his or her memory regarding a topic about which she has been thoroughly trained, however, sites such as obgfindit are a helpful, easy-to-use aid. Dr. Davidson’s experience is a useful example of how Web-based resources can help us provide optimal care to our patients.

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