I went to a patient’s funeral this past weekend. I generally don’t do that for people whose relationship I’ve built in the exam room. It’s a complex set of emotions, but invariably some family member will start telling others what a nice doctor I am and how much the person had liked me as a doctor. It’s awkward getting a eulogy (literally good words) spoken about me at someone else’s funeral. This patient I had known prior to them becoming my patient, and his wife had been very nice to us when we first moved here from up north.
But that’s not why I am writing this. As I was sitting in the service, the thought occurred to me that a patient’s funeral would be considered by many to be a failure for a doctor. Certainly there are times when that is the case — when the doctor could have intervened and didn’t, or intervened incorrectly, causing the person to die earlier than they could have. Every doctor has some moments where regrets over missed or incorrect diagnosis take their toll. We are imperfect humans, we have bad days, and we don’t always give our patients our best. We have limits. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*
A few weeks before Christmas, Eutisha Rennix, a pregnant restaurant worker, collapsed while working. She started having a seizure and her co-workers were screaming for help.
There were two EMT workers in line at Au Bon Pain shop in Brooklyn and they refused to help. They told onlookers to call 911 and they walked out of the store after picking up their bagels, presumably because they were on a coffee break. An ambulance was called and the 25-year-old woman and her baby girl died shortly afterward. She is survived by a 3-year-old son. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
I was about to leave work a few nights ago when EMS was dispatched to a 10-50, which is a motor vehicle accident.
Enough years in emergency care and that tone makes your radar, but doesn’t create much of a blip. Many of those crashes have EMS arrive, only to discover no injuries. Some have patients transported, with minor problems that lead to their speedy evaluation and discharge from our ER. A few have serious, life-threatening injuries. They take all our speed, skill and attention to save life and limb. And often, require transfer to other facilities.
But this last call was none of those. Around 1AM the radio traffic crackled back to dispatch (which we could hear in the emergency department): “Probable Signal Nine.” Signal Nine means the victim is dead at the scene. Not “Dead On Arrival” (DOA) at the hospital, but no hospital necessary.
I knew the paramedics were finished when they asked dispatch to call for the coroner. And my heart sank a little. For all that a multi-trauma is work, I’d rather do it anytime than have someone die, and someone learn of the death. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at edwinleap.com*