Oct 28, 2009

Will the Real Doctor Please Stand Up?

Yesterday a woman had a stroke in Costco. Her family and a cashier yelled for medical help, and I walked (ran?) over, thinking that I would help until a doctor showed up. While waiting, I introduced myself and took her pulse, and asked the manager to bring the AED just in case it was irregular. I asked her who she was and where she was, what day was it, and did a mini neurological exam. She seemed confused, and had muscular weakness on the left. I just stayed with her and made sure she was breathing and her pulse was regular, and soon, the paramedics arrived. The manager of the Costco thanked me profusely. I was happy to help. Of course, I would have been grateful to get a free hot dog too, but whatever. Happy to help.

A similar episode happened at church last week. I was walking around the cafe, hoping to score a free muffin (are you seeing a trend here?), when one of the pastors grabbed me. "You're a doctor, aren't you?" "Well, not quite...I'm still in medical school...what happened?" It was a kid that had bounced out of one of the bounce houses right onto his tailbone. He was laying in the grass in severe pain. I talked to him and looked at his backside and assessed him neurologically, and he seemed okay. Since he was very overweight, I advised his parents to take him in for an xray to rule out a vertebral stress fracture, and told him to put some ice on it and give him some ibuprofen.

In both of these situations it became apparent to me that another doctor wasn't going to come...and that I was the most highly trained medical professional in this situation. What? When did this happen??? Will the real doctor please stand up?

It doesn't seem like it should be me...but in these situations it was. I am not a licensed physician, but in these cases I was the closest thing to it. It struck me as a great responsibility, and an honor. You are never "off duty" as a physician. There is always the possibility, wherever you are, for sickness and injury. And you try to help the best you can...even as a little doctor.

1 comment:

  1. Well-done, lil' doc. Worth 2 hot dogs. Plus 5 min in the bounce house.