The focus of this web site is medicine. In this blog, you’ll read about patient stories. The situations have been changed to be HIPAA compliant. Factual statements may or may not be true. I may change ages, gender or presenting complaints about patients. I may even entirely make up complete patient encounters from my fertile imagination. Trust me, if you think I’m writing about you, I’m not. There are billions of people in this world and readers send me stories about patients all the time. It isn’t you.
You’ll also read a lot about health care policy. I may throw in posts about life lessons, computers, and will even throw in family stories once in a while. If you’re looking for articles about politics, sports, or celebrities, you’re in the wrong place – unless the topics have some relationship to medicine.
If you want to add a guest post or to cross-post something from your blog, or if you have a patient story you want me to write about, e-mail me. See more information in the “About Me” page.
By Birdstrike MD “You want them to see you, like they see any other girl” -Against Me! I head to work at my new locums job on the California coast. Summer 2015 is going to be a great one, I think to myself. I make the turn into the hospital parking lot and a rusty old Trans Am cuts me off. I slam on the brakes to the soundtrack of screeching tires. Geez, I think to myself. It’s my first day at this job and they’re already trying to kill me. I drive on, and I pull into my parking space. My headache is starting a little too early for this shift, I think to myself. The sun is out, the sand is hot, and it seems like everyone must be at the beach but me. The humid heat is as thick and soothing as suntan oil. I leave it and walk into the cold and clinical hospital. Out of the EMS radio and through the air crackles, “ELDERLY FEMALE CARDIAC ARREST…DROWNING…INTUBATED…NO PULSE…45 MINUTE DOWN TIME…ETA 5 MINUTES.” Jane the nurse looks at me. “This one’s yours,” she says with a wink. “You got it,” I answer. Way to start off with tragic one, I think to myself and take a deep breathe, shaking my head. “Boom” goes the grinding, mechanical sound of the automatic doors as EMS rolls the stretcher into my ER. In they wheel my patient, while feverishly sweating and performing CPR and bagging air in and out of the patient, one breath at a time. With my back against the wall, they wheel the head of the bed up to me. I see a large, elderly female, dressed in a bright orange one-piece women’s bathing suit. I grab my laryngoscope and look to make sure the ET tube is in the airway. Her face is bloated and purplish-pale except for the mess of pink lipstick smeared around her mouth, likely from EMS attempts at placing the tube. I check the tube and it’s okay. “45 minutes with no pulse at any time? Drowning?” I ask EMS. “Yes sir,” responds one of the burly EMS guys. “We got the tube in right away, started CPR, gave epi per protocol, and…..nothing.” “Did you see any of her family?” I ask. “No family. She was with a big church group at the beach for a picnic, with a bunch of kids. Youth group, or something,” says the EMT. “What?! Doc. Look!….” says Nurse Jane who had just cut off the patient’s bathing suit, pointing at the patient’s groin. There, no longer covered by the woman’s bathing suit, is a penis and testicles. I look at Jane, I look at the two EMTs, and they look at me. “I’m just as confused as you doc,” says the EMT, looking at me wide eyed as he raises his hands. “What’s the patient’s name again?” I ask. “Let’s make sure we have the correct patient and correct name.” “We’ve got a driver’s license and the picture matches. Pat ——, female, is what’s on the ID,” says the EMT. “So, the friends that are here, know, or don’t know? Help me out here.” “I have no idea, doc. Her friend, who looked like a little old church lady, referred to her as ‘she.’ That all I know,” answers the EMT. “Okay, thanks. Regardless, we have no pulse, over 45 minutes of downtime and zero chance of survival with a warm water drowning. Time for me to call the code and notify the family. Time of death 17:01.” CPR stops. I’ve declared the ...Read More »