Under the scalpel

Posted on June 9, 2009


Have you ever what is it like?
I’ve never though much of it until today.

Today was the third time we had to draw blood from the heart of our short 21 days lived lab rat. Each time is as painful to watch as the first but this time was the worse. I suspect there wasn’t enough alcohol to anesthesia the rat for it took longer than usual to knock it off unconscious. When we though it was unconscious enough we place it at the dissecting tray where we pinned its four limbs with needle to the tray bed. Skillfully the lab worker pulled the flaccid abdominal muscle and makes an incision upwards to the chest cutting through its rib cage. The sound of crunch broken ribs was none as if there was nothing there in the first place. Usually, if the animal is not anesthesia the muscle will be still in contracted state, hence it’s easier to cut through the abdominal muscles without the messy pool of blood flooding.

Half way making the incision towards the chest, the rat struggled! It was gaining conscious. We had to quickly place the alcohol cotton on its face. The struggle wasn’t over until we draw all its blood from its heart to the syringe. How cruel and unethical it was.

I was watching from quite a distance, taking a step back each time I as the rat gain conscious and struggled, earnestly giving prayers to the poor animal, hoping the ordeal it had to go through wasn’t as bad as it looks. But who am I kidding? It’s painful enough to watch as it is what more if the one under the scalpel.

A few days ago I watch a movie-Awaken, story revolves a rich young business tycoon who had to lie on the surgery table having a cardio transplant. He was anesthesia of course but he’s subconscious mind was awake. Imagine finding yourself some what awake and watching you being dissected from the sides. He was screaming his lungs out of terror when he watch himself being slice up and the saw sawing through his ribcage as they went in and grab his heart. He watched the crew of operation doctors screw up as his body started crashing.

Comparing the two I’ve mix feelings conjure up in me as these two questions pop in to my mind: “What if I were the surgeon? What if I was lying on the cold operating table?”
I feel sorry for the rat having to wake up finding itself immobilize, hurt and being cut up. It left its dismembered body with its life being suck away into the syringe as the piston pulled upwards. Life was no more just like that.

Out, out, brief candle

It gets me wondering, was there any other way to draw all the blood from the rat other than that. If the rat was killed stone cold first, we would not be able to draw that much blood from the heart because the blood would have coagulated by then.

……. unfinished…