Saturday, November 20, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 20

There's a quote, which I may or may not be wrongly attributing to Osler, about how being a great doctor means that you, amoung other things, have to be a great scientist.  And, what do scientists do...?  They observe.

That's what I did mostly last night.  I observed.

I had two patients come in... one young, one old.  Both had potentially life-threatening conditions.  The young one had croup.  The old one had angioedema.

Croup can go bad real quick.  One minute you have a reasonably healthy 18 month old, and the next thing you know you're putting in a breathing tube and doing everything you can to help them keep breathing.

Angioedema can go even worse.  The tissues in the face swell up in reaction to an allergen.  Most often a medication called Captopril, but sometimes it's due to a simple food allergy.  The lips swell, the cheeks swell, and then Heaven forbid, the tongue swells.  You can do everything right, and the patient may still die.  The best case scenario can be a cricothyroidotomy which is basically cutting a hole in your neck to place a breathing tube into.  This is the blog post from my first ED Cric.

Unfortunately, the patient later died in the MICU.  But, in a strange twist of fate, their child was awaiting a kidney transplant, and the patient was a match.  Maybe some things are just meant to happen... although, that experience has continued to affect the way I practice medicine.  So, like last night, I gave my medications, and sat back and observed.  However, a little prayer now and then doesn't hurt.

1 comment:

betty said...

thinking there is no such thing as coincidence, sometimes there are things just meant to happen indeed yet we might not see that in this lifetime. and yes, you are right, a little prayer doesn't hurt and actually might be just the right thing!


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