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.

1 comment:

  1. You know what- anesthesiologists are JERKS. As someone who's had some nasty anesthesiologists over time, including one that completely disregarded my request not to touch me unless for medical reasons, I'm glad to hear that sometimes they get a run for their money! They have the easiest job in the room - knock them out, and keep them that way. And if they get in a snide comment as you're going off into lala-land, you're restrained in a compromising position and can't get your tongue to form the words to tell them where to go.