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Ever Save a LIfe?

ChiefToma

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It would be nice to hear if any clerks have actually been able to save someone's life, either by doing something like CPR, or by helping out an attending or resident in a significant way.

I'll start:

I haven't saved anybody yet.

your turn.
 

ericdamiansean

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Er, 1) Saved someone with DKA
2) Stopped an unneccessary appendicectomy in a kid whom I strongly believed had UTI, and later I was right when the urinalysis and culture came back positive
3) Resuscitated a few

if these count:p
 
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AmoryBlaine

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I think most of your opportunities to "save a life" as a medical student come on the floors when you know your pts better than anyone. I've seen it happen several times where the M3 is the only one to pick up on the subtle change in labs or the slightly altered mental status.

Not quite equal to running the code but the end result is the same.
 

dpmd

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Never had my CPR or internal cardiac compressions end in a save, but I did do some calculations with the equianalgesic chart and help a terminal rectal cancer patient go to home hospice pain free (200mcg fentanyl patch plus a crapload of dilaudid for breakthrough pain, the resident was originally going to send the guy home on a 100mcg patch and some vicodin). I was the one to tell him he was going to die, and discussed the option of hospice versus dialysis and more debulking surgery (spanish speaking patient and he had been my patient for a while). Seeing him leave the hospital without pain and content felt like a win to me.
 

random-dude

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I caught a PE once on a post-op patient. I guess he could have died if it was undiagnosed for a long time. I'm positive the surgeon would have found it if he had seen the patient first.
 

Discobolus

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I found a subclavian stenosis on a guy who was s/p CABG and on beta blockers. He appeared to be hypotensive so the attending took him off beta blockers until I figured out via physical exam and taking the vitals myself that he had a subclavian stenosis and was only "hypotensive" in the arm that the nurses were taking the BP in. Doppler studies confirmed the diagnosis and he was restarted on the beta blockers which might save his life in the long term.

Oh, and I've done chest compressions twice on guys that lived, at least for a few more days.
 

VincentAdultman

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This one time I was examining this guy who came in injured from a WW2 reenactment. Turns out his buddy shot him in the chest with a bazooka. I realized that the projectile was still in his chest and was, in fact, live. Bomb squad came in everything. I think one dude died. Crazy stuff.
 

Click Here!

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This one time I was examining this guy who came in injured from a WW2 reenactment. Turns out his buddy shot him in the chest with a bazooka. I realized that the projectile was still in his chest and was, in fact, live. Bomb squad came in everything. I think one dude died. Crazy stuff.

Wasn't that an episode of Grey's Anatomy?
 

Dr JPH

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No, this happened to me for real :rolleyes:

Me too!

:laugh:

I dont think one person every really saves someones life.

Catching a lab value or being astute about the physical findings to direct patient care isnt really saving someones life, its doing your job well. True, it may come out in the end to benefit the patient, but thats the nature of the game. No need to sit back and "admire your work", as one attending says to me all the time. "Stop admiring your work doctor and keep going." :)

Doc dont sit around talking about how they "saved someones life". They sometimes talk about interesting cases or interesting presentations, but not about how great they are at doing their job.

Many docs do, however, talk about how when things DONT go right how they feel they were justified in what they did. Looking for reinforcement I suppose.
 

DOtobe

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I found a subclavian stenosis on a guy who was s/p CABG and on beta blockers. He appeared to be hypotensive so the attending took him off beta blockers until I figured out via physical exam and taking the vitals myself that he had a subclavian stenosis and was only "hypotensive" in the arm that the nurses were taking the BP in. Doppler studies confirmed the diagnosis and he was restarted on the beta blockers which might save his life in the long term.

Oh, and I've done chest compressions twice on guys that lived, at least for a few more days.

Cool story.

And as JP said, nobody sits around and talks about "saving someone's life," but when you run your first code and you are able to resuscitate someone based on all of the orders you were giving the code team, it is kind of a cool feeling. :)
 
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OncoCaP

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Nothing to do with medicine: I got to save a life of someone whose car fell off a ferry into the Gulf/Ship Channel (I jumped in when it was apparent that there was no lifesaving equipment around, opened car door of the sinking car, swam elderly man to nearby shore). I felt somewhat traumatized by the experience (although not injured with salt water in lungs like the elderly man was). However, I survived and would do it again if I had to (Coast Guard said that 99% of the time I would have been a goner and never to do that kind of **** again). I got a nice certificate out of the deal and the elderly man took me and my family to Outback and another place and gave us a $500 gift card. Said if I ever needed anything to give him a call.

Closest in medicine: Picked up on stroke symptoms of a person checking in while I was volunteering.
 

StickMe

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Went to see a consult on a transplant patient in the ICU one late afternoon. Patient was on contact precautions requiring everyone to put on gowns to go in so nursing staff were just looking from the door. Walked into the room to find the intubated and restrained patient lying in a pool of his blood from an art line that had come out and was steadily squirting blood. This view was obscured by the bedrail if you were looking from the door. Who knows when someone would have checked on him otherwise.
 

GregsAnatomy

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I was in the CCU early in the morning seeing my 26-year old lupus nephritis patient who was 7 days s/p pericardial window for pericardial effusion and had her tube removed 2 days prior. The nurse reported to me she had been hypotensive and brady all night. I became suspicious she was tamponading and ordered a stat echo, but unforunately she went into PEA right then. I started compressions and the nurse gave atropine as we started the code. She went into pulseless VT, gave her some shocks, and we got her back and stable before most of the code team arrived. Then we got the echo, and the CT surg folks came along to drain the tamponade. My resident finally made it up by then and she keeps telling everyone I saved the patient's life. :D
 

SLUser11

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I was in the CCU early in the morning seeing my 26-year old lupus nephritis patient who was 7 days s/p pericardial window for pericardial effusion and had her tube removed 2 days prior. The nurse reported to me she had been hypotensive and brady all night. I became suspicious she was tamponading and ordered a stat echo, but unforunately she went into PEA right then. I started compressions and the nurse gave atropine as we started the code. She went into pulseless VT, gave her some shocks, and we got her back and stable before most of the code team arrived. Then we got the echo, and the CT surg folks came along to drain the tamponade. My resident finally made it up by then and she keeps telling everyone I saved the patient's life. :D

Oh yeah? Well, I was at McDonald's the other day, and this fat guy was like, "I'll have the double quarter-pounder" and I was all like "dude, do you really need the double?" Then he was like "Don't tell me what to do, man!" and I was all like "dude, I'm a doctor."

To make a long story short, he still got the double. But, he didn't finish his fries.

Basically, I'm a hero, just like you.:thumbup:
 

tacrum43

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Nothing to do with medicine: I got to save a life of someone whose car fell off a ferry into the Gulf/Ship Channel (I jumped in when it was apparent that there was no lifesaving equipment around, opened car door of the sinking car, swam elderly man to nearby shore). I felt somewhat traumatized by the experience (although not injured with salt water in lungs like the elderly man was). However, I survived and would do it again if I had to (Coast Guard said that 99% of the time I would have been a goner and never to do that kind of **** again). I got a nice certificate out of the deal and the elderly man took me and my family to Outback and another place and gave us a $500 gift card. Said if I ever needed anything to give him a call.

Closest in medicine: Picked up on stroke symptoms of a person checking in while I was volunteering.

Wow. That's crazy. You are a hero! I wonder how come you didn't get a personal mention during a presidential address like that subway guy from New York did. Not to mention that it would make a pretty engaging story for your personal statement too, even if it isn't directly medically related.

I helped to do the chest compressions during CPR on an elderly lady who was having a heart attack once. It worked! And she was apparently up and walking again a few days later. :)
 

thewebthsp

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agreed oncocap... wow...

yeah if you ever get stuck in a car that landed in water, open the door immediately. if you're too late, calm down, hold your breath and try not to expend too much energy... once you've hit the bottom you can open the door, but not before. (thanks mythbusters)

I think that's how Jessica Savitch died... (she was megafamous in the early 80s, prob would be hosting the news today, alas.)
 

OncoCaP

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Wow. That's crazy. You are a hero! I wonder how come you didn't get a personal mention during a presidential address like that subway guy from New York did. Not to mention that it would make a pretty engaging story for your personal statement too, even if it isn't directly medically related.

I helped to do the chest compressions during CPR on an elderly lady who was having a heart attack once. It worked! And she was apparently up and walking again a few days later. :)

It was crazy; thanks for the compliment. You're a hero as well, of course! I haven't had to perform CPR on anyone yet. One of my high school classmates saved his own mom's life with a Heimlich Maneuver and CPR.

Don't worry; I did get plenty of press, a news segment, an award, and much positive attention, but, no, I did not get to meet the President (I think you would need to be a large donor or soldier heroically injured in battle to get that opportunity). I was able to rescue the car's driver and the ferry captain rescued the passenger. Personally, I'm not really someone who likes to draw attention to himself in a prideful way (although I like to socialize) so I rarely talk about the incident because I don't want to give people the wrong impression about my ego. It was a once-in-a-lifetime situation and I'm thankful it worked out with no fatalities and only moderate injuries.

I did find a discreet way of mentioning it in my personal statement, and I'm sure it helped. Since I'm a non-trad, my personal statement really had to make the case that I was going into medicine for the right reasons, so I felt like I needed to talk about several aspects of this career change decision. I didn't dwell on the experience too much (interviewers were able to ask me about the rescue with follow-up questions). The experience left an impression on me and no doubt influenced my perspective on life and becoming a physician. I know that as a physician you don't typically perform dramatic rescues on a regular basis, but drama or not, there is an element of extending life in a very positive way and providing a valuable service that involves a great deal of responsibility. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to become part of the medical profession and serve in this important field.
 
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Saved someone from drowning once and prevented a drunk girl from falling out of my car once when we were going down the road in high school. Myself and my friends buckled her in and locked the door after she passed out. She was in the passenger's seat and I was driving and friends were in the back. She somehow in like two seconds she unbuckled and open the door while we were going around 45 mph. I quickly grabbed her arm and held her in as I tried to pull the car over. I barely held her up and as soon as I stopped the car I had to let go and she rolled into the ditch. I am not sure if I saved her life but I think it would not have been good if she hit the pavement going that fast with her head. She turned out alright with some bruises and did not even remember falling out. It made for a funny story though after the fact.
 

OncoCaP

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damn i got nothin...

closest i came to saving a life was about standing 5 feet from the anesthesiologist who resusitated a guy in asystole for few minutes on the OR table....

Maybe that's a good thing that people aren't dying around you?

I would rather be known as a doc around whom people never seem to start dying than a resusitation star (as long as I knew what to do if I did have to do something) ... I know, I'm not counting on it; would be nice anyway.
 
in college, i once convinced an acquaintance who was lonely, sad, and really struggling to see the school counseling service. she was failing out of school and was traumatized by a previous relationship with a real jerk. i offered to accompany her to counseling and we went together. i remember her tearful offer of thanks after she came out of the first session. and then we just parted ways....

perhaps not saving a life in the literal sense, but i like to think that somehow i made a real positive difference. i think she is doing OK now. that's all i got.

we've all saved somebody's life...not in the "life or death" sense, but perhaps when we help them out from their own personal hells...
 
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