Sunday, April 19, 2009

Listen To Your Patients...Even If They Seem Crazy

We learned a valuable lesson in patient care last week. We were told about a patient who was visiting a city on business and wound up in the hospital. He was waking up from general anesthesia to hear his doctor order him a course of heparin (heparin is a blood thinning agent). Upon waking up and hearing the order the patient demanded not to be given heparin, stating there was an article about how heparin was contraindicated in his condition in some journal from the 1980's. When asked how he knew about this article, the patient said he know about it because he wrote it. This was how the story was told to us; however, I do suspect that since this patient was waking up from anesthesia, the language may have been more colourful and a shade more disrespectful because the attending physician completely ignored the patient. My guess is the doctor thought the patient was still hopped up on the drugs he was given and his comments were just lunatic ramblings.

Turns out this patient was our professor and a doctor himself. Also turns out that he actually did write that article and knew what he was talking about. He almost bled to death because his doctor ignored him.

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