Guest Post from Dr. Shaniuk

I’m not sure about all of you, but lately I’ve been needing some healthy doses of perspective and positivity. We all have those days when the mundane becomes overwhelming and one little thing can tip the scales and send us over the edge…or when it seems everything is spiraling out of control…or when everyone is just complaining too damn much and you can’t take it anymore. For me, it helps to take a moment and really listen to someone else. I often get that reality check when I hear my husband talk about the truly difficult situations his patients see every day, but also when he tells me about the beautiful life-changing things that happen in the small universe that is the hospital. Thanks for sharing some perspective, Paul.


I’ve been pretty busy at the hospital the last 3 months and haven’t kept up with people very well. It’s been trying, but very exciting. I’m very blessed to be given the opportunity to work at an amazing medical center and care for the sickest patients in Cleveland. Here are a few of the things I’ve been doing the last few months:

1. Opened up a small balloon inside a patient’s failing heart so that we could monitor pressures as we increased powerful medicines to help support it.

2. Placed an emergency dialysis line in a very sick man with kidney failure; his underlying problems made it an extremely technically difficult placement.

3. Helped pour fluids and life-saving medicines into a child who was actively dying of a severe infection (she lived).

4. That same night, I was called to the bedside of a teenaged girl having a massive stroke and I got to assist the amazing PICU and neurology team at Rainbow in saving her life.

5. I diagnosed a congenital heart disease in a 30-year-old man by EKG and physical exam and then gave him my card so his sons could follow up with me in clinic to get screened for the same condition (#medpeds).

6. I was there to help a family understand that their loved one was dying and I helped them realize that it was okay to let go.

7. I got to witness the cardiologists at UH save a man’s life because they thought outside the box and found a diagnosis that no one had thought of before.

8. Realized after talking to man that he was having a heart attack and started the appropriate medications and set him up for a catheterization.

9. I wheeled a woman with horrible chest pain down into the CAT scanner where we found that she was having a severe tear in one of her arteries and got the patient set up for life-saving surgery within the hour.

10. I had sleepless nights. I didn’t see my wife or son very much. I got headaches. I missed meals (but never coffee!). I tried not to cry when patients died or when survivors of car accidents learned that their loved one didn’t survive. I saved lives and I helped families come to grips with the fact that their loved one was not going to make it. I defended nurses being yelled at by cranky fellows and I had my butt saved by nurses time and time again. I placed central lines, drew blood, performed spinal taps on babies to rule out brain infections. The last three months were a difficult, trying time in my education. I learned so much and I am a better doctor for it.

That’s my top 10. Thanks Melanie, the love of my life, for being so supportive and helping me the whole way. Looking forward to some less-stressful rotations!  🙂


2 thoughts on “Guest Post from Dr. Shaniuk

  1. What a beautiful perspective on some very tough months at the hospital. Amazing to hear how you were really able to heal the sick, comfort the dying, give drink to the thirsty! Makes me humbled yet excited for my journey as a doctor to begin!

  2. Oh my dear Paul, that was beautiful. And yes Melanie many of us complain way too much! Thank you both for this post. It puts it all into perspective as we are about to begin the most solemn season of Lent. May your Lent be blessed! So proud of the three of you! God bless!

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