Friday, July 24, 2009

Check Your Own Pulse

Please read this piece by Matt's father, Dr. Dan Schneeweis, which will hopefully be published in the near future. It's a must read for anyone in the medical profession certainly, and the lessons are important for anyone. Excerpt:
In my 19-year anesthesia career, there have been a few cases that have tested my skill and fortitude to the limit. These are situations that deteriorate rapidly and place the patient’s life at risk. Out of the 20,000 patients I have cared, for I have had fewer than a half dozen of these. You never forget the details of such events.

I recently had one of these cases that was rather unique. In this “man-bites-dog” scenario, it was not the patient’s safety that was at risk, but rather my personal safety and the safety of my nursing staff. Briefly, this involved a six foot tall 260-lb. muscular young man who emerged from general anesthesia in an agitated state. Despite massive doses of sedative medications, his agitation rapidly deteriorated into a violent fracas requiring four nurses and myself to restrain a thrashing, punching, kicking, biting behemoth. He snapped his wrist restraints, tried to disconnect three safety belts, and bit through his IV tubing and monitor cables. He threatened to “track me down and f******g kill me” for restraining his arm in a rather painful position so that he would not harm himself or any of us. Eventually - for the first and hopefully the last time in my career - I called 911 for police back-up. I needed a “show of force” that a 62 year-old anesthesiologist and four female nurses (two of them weighing under 110 pounds) could not provide.
Full piece: Check Your Own Pulse.