One January day, resident Abdel-Moneim Mohamed Ali, MD, was completing his acute care surgery rotation when he received a call to the Emergency Department to evaluate a patient for an urgent umbilical hernia repair. When Dr. Ali saw the patient, he learned that the patient was also on a waiting list for a liver transplant.
He consulted his fellow resident and senior team member, Shyam (Jay) Jayaraman, MD, and, together, they made a decision that would ultimately save the patient’s life: they decided to calculate the patient’s MELD score.
A MELD score is used to gauge how urgently a patient needs a liver transplant. Patients with higher numbers are higher on the transplant list. As they suspected, their patient’s score was dangerously high. “The patient’s liver failure was getting worse,” said Dr. Jay. “The hernia was purely excess fluid in the abdomen caused by the patient’s liver failure.”
Thanks to Dr. Jay and Dr. Ali’s meticulous evaluation, the patient received a life-saving liver transplant the very next day.
When they’re not saving lives, the two might be found preparing for a game of jeopardy.
In 2018, Dr. Jay and Dr. Ali competed as a two-person team in the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Surgical Jeopardy contest at the ACS Annual Clinical Congress held in Boston. The duo took an impressive second place in the rigorous contest.
“It all comes down to teamwork,” they concurred.
Pro tip: “Treat the patient and not the imaging or lab value. Look at the whole picture and do what’s best for the patient.”