* * Anonymous Doc

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I saw someone pass out this afternoon. And it wasn't even a patient.

The things we see... and that we're totally unprepared for. I was in a patient's room with one of the medical students, we're talking to the patient about his medications, surgical history, allergies... and all of the sudden the med student makes this noise, kind of like a hiccup, and then crumples to the floor.

I froze. The patient's wife screamed. I ran into the hall and grabbed a nurse, told her to call a rapid response. Went back in, made sure the student was breathing, and by then he'd regained consciousness. The code team arrived, made sure the student was okay, and took him out of the room to rest in the nurse's station. I had to calm the patient and his wife, assure them that this was atypical and not indicative of any sort of illness in the hospital or anything they needed to be worried about. Swine flu? Random death disease? In their minds, it could have been anything.

I was pretty shaken up. It was crazy. I'm a little scared how shaken up I felt -- I'm a doctor, I should be able to handle these things better, shouldn't I? But a med student passing out? It's scary.

In med school someone passed out while watching a surgery-- something bloody and stomach-turning, but he said something when he started feeling faint, and one of the doctors watching with us was able to grab him before he fell and make sure he was okay. This time, it was just in the course of normal business, and he went down to the ground.

We're not quite sure what happened. I thought they should have admitted him, just to make sure it wasn't something more than dehydration (the student's excuse), but they decided not to. He said it's happened before (!!) and he's always been okay... I'm not sure I'm completely on board with that, but it's not like it's my call.

The patient was justifiably freaked out. Most of the patients seem to get freaked out about things they shouldn't be freaked out about-- taking medication, getting their blood pressure checked-- so at least this one had a real reason. Gosh. I don't want to work with that med student anymore.


  1. I don't want to work with that med student anymore.

    I'm an M2, and I had an experience where I passed out while interviewing a patient (in hindsight, given the context, probably due to nervousness), freaking out my supervisor immensely. It was a deeply embarrassing experience, and I wish I'd been able to anticipate or avoid it somehow - cut your med student a little slack.

  2. Poor guy atleast he was ok. They say doctors are the worest patients but he seem to be starting that line a little early. (Ie Im fine it just dehydration, not being the patient go away approuch)