A few months back, while we were on vacation in Washington, D.C., my 17-year-old son Noah sustained an injury at 1:00 a.m. I was asleep, but this is usually a few hours earlier than he typically retires. In our hotel room’s bathroom, he dropped a glass and then managed to step in the wrong place. A sharp shard sliced through the soft skin between his great and second toes. Blood was spurting wildly and he woke me up with a shout. He was spooked.
We gastroenterologists are experienced at stanching bleeding, although I was uncertain how to do so without some kind of scope in my hand. I reflected on my ACLS training, which is a comprehensive 2 hour course that my partners and I take every 2 years. In between those sessions, I neither think about nor practice any advanced life saving procedures. It doesn’t seem rational that a community gastroenterologist should be schooled in temporary pacemakers, when most of us haven’t interpreted an EKG in decades.
I still remember the fundamentals of life support, the famed A, B, Cs, standing for airway, breathing and circulation. I decided to apply this to the hemorrhage at hand.
Airway: the windpipe was open and functioning
Breathing: the kid was breathing
After going through this brief but critical checklist, I now knew where to focus. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at MD Whistleblower*