A New Doctor Learning to Adapt

MacGyver moves in the cardiac cath lab

Learning to Adapt

While settling into residency, Jason Lappe, MD, is learning first-hand how physicians adapt in challenging clinical situations. Working in the cardiac catheterization lab, he discovered that you can use boiled water to heat and bend a catheter. Who would have thought? Dr. Lappe is inspired by the “in-the-trenches” training he is getting so far, and continues his story as part of our ongoing series.

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The last three months have been a whirlwind. I have gone from feeling completely lost and out of place to having my feet planted firmly on the ground. While there is still tons to learn, I can now find my way around the hospital, including the fastest ways between the many buildings, and the good places to grab a coffee or snack on the run.

Jason Lappe, MD

Jason Lappe, MD

As I have been settling into my new role, I have had some amazing experiences. Just the other day I was working in the cardiovascular catheterization lab with one of the senior staff. We were performing a left heart catheterization on a patient who was headed off to surgery later in the week. He had undergone coronary bypass surgery in the past and we were trying to evaluate the old bypass grafts. One of the grafts was in a location that was difficult to reach due to the tortuous arteries and acute angles that needed to be navigated. While there are numerous catheters used to reach different locations, none was perfect for this specific situation. Luckily, the staff member I was with had some tricks up his sleeve. In the middle of the case, he got out a sterile pot of water and brought it to a boil. He then proceeded to heat and shape the plastic catheter into the exact shape for the path we needed to traverse.

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Through his experience and skill he was able to modify the catheter so that, once cooled, I was able to guide it through the patient’s aorta and into the branch artery. Sure enough, it dropped right into the bypass graft without a problem. It has been amazing to have the opportunity to work with people who have such a depth of knowledge that they can adapt to any situation.

On a more personal note, my wife and I are expecting our first child—a baby girl. She is due in less then a month. As the days pass, we are getting more excited about her arrival.

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