Which doctors are best equipped to save your life on the street?

Jul 11, 2010
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Yeah, it's a hypothetical situation and yeah, I'm sure many doctors can handle issues that just pop up on the street/plane/etc and need immediate attention, but what doctors are best equipped for these emergencies? I'm guessing radiologists and pathologists aren't the best candidates to help if something comes up. Are Emergency Physicians, Anesthesiologists, Internists, and Family Practitioners the best in situations like these? Just curious, that's all.
 

AZFutureDoc

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Id guess EM docs, naturally. Trauma surgeons probably have some very quick thinking abilities and improvisation skills. I guess it would just depend on the severity of the situation. Some med schools offer electives on this kind of stuff, like what to do if they see various emergencies in their every day lives.
 
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TheMightySmiter

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Probably EM or trauma surgery because, mentally, they're the most used to emergency situations. That said, a lot of physicians are completely useless in the field. I was an EMT for two years and got a cardiac arrest call where there was a critical care physician on scene. It was really tough for him to be useful, because having only the supplies that a BLS ambulance carries is vastly different from having an entire hospital of resources at your disposal to save someone's life. Unless they have military experience, I'd rather have an EMT/paramedic happen upon me coding in the street than any physician.
 

Perrotfish

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Yeah, it's a hypothetical situation and yeah, I'm sure many doctors can handle issues that just pop up on the street/plane/etc and need immediate attention, but what doctors are best equipped for these emergencies?
It depends on the emergency. Obviously Emergency medicine leads the pack 99% of the time. After that, though, it depends on the problem. An adult's heart stopped? Critical care. Child w/ dspnea? Peds. Woman in labor? OB.
 
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Yeah, it's a hypothetical situation and yeah, I'm sure many doctors can handle issues that just pop up on the street/plane/etc and need immediate attention, but what doctors are best equipped for these emergencies? I'm guessing radiologists and pathologists aren't the best candidates to help if something comes up. Are Emergency Physicians, Anesthesiologists, Internists, and Family Practitioners the best in situations like these? Just curious, that's all.
The one with a cell phone that has the presence of mind to call 911, make sure that you have a patent airway, and is willing to risk you or your family suing him if you die before paramedics get there.
 

muhali3

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EM docs depend on radiology and having medications available to be able to do anything most of the time.
 

AestheticMed

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Obviously a dermatologist...Haha, but yeah I agree EM or Trauma surgeon.
 
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Frazier

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I'm gonna have to disagree with everyone in this thread...

The radiation oncologist, I feel, takes the cake in this respect.
Pocket-sized swiss gamma knife, FTW!
 

Long Way to Go

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Dermatologists.

How else are you going to afford the McLaren F1 that will be necessary to drive the poor guy on the ground to the hospital?
 

zwitterion34

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I would say PCP because if they are unable to treat it they can refer to the nearest specialist.
 

Longshanks

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The one with a cell phone that has the presence of mind to call 911, make sure that you have a patent airway, and is willing to risk you or your family suing him if you die before paramedics get there.
Good Samaritan laws, this couldn't be done unless you did something willfully to harm the person.
 

whatbout2morrow

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Good Samaritan laws, this couldn't be done unless you did something willfully to harm the person.
Varies state by state, but I believe that the common terminology is that you must exercise 'ordinary diligence', i.e. even if you are not willfully harming the person, you are still liable if it is found that anything you did might have been 'grossly negligent'.
 
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Good Samaritan laws, this couldn't be done unless you did something willfully to harm the person.
Sure it can. Being able to win a malpractice suit or real malpractice actually occurring has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you can sue the person. Frivolous lawsuits are standard fare in health care.
 

ElCapone

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Yeah, it's a hypothetical situation and yeah, I'm sure many doctors can handle issues that just pop up on the street/plane/etc and need immediate attention, but what doctors are best equipped for these emergencies? I'm guessing radiologists and pathologists aren't the best candidates to help if something comes up. Are Emergency Physicians, Anesthesiologists, Internists, and Family Practitioners the best in situations like these? Just curious, that's all.
Podiatrist
 

ElCapone

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I think TCM is better than podiatry. Podiatry is limited to the feet. What if it a problem with the kidneys?
I think your sarcasm detector might not have been turned on :laugh:

EDIT: Just looked up what TCM actually meant. Should have actually googled it before posting :smack:
 

MossPoh

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Sure it can. Being able to win a malpractice suit or real malpractice actually occurring has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you can sue the person. Frivolous lawsuits are standard fare in health care.
The amount that actually WIN is grossly overstated as well.

Standard good samaritan law implies that the things you do aren't out of proportion for the scene and your ability. A doctor stopping to give CPR and stop bleeding won't have anything happen to them. A dermatologist going and drilling a hole in your head to relieve pressure is a different story. Sure, they can TRY to sue you but they'd lose and have to pay a lot for it. Most lawyers aren't stupid enough to take that case.

Seriously, in the field you aren't going to be doing anything heroic. Compression, clear airway, maybe use an AED and call 911. Any normal doctor should be able to do that. Hell, any 3rd year med student can do that.
 
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jdok

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Probably EM or trauma surgery because, mentally, they're the most used to emergency situations. That said, a lot of physicians are completely useless in the field. I was an EMT for two years and got a cardiac arrest call where there was a critical care physician on scene. It was really tough for him to be useful, because having only the supplies that a BLS ambulance carries is vastly different from having an entire hospital of resources at your disposal to save someone's life. Unless they have military experience, I'd rather have an EMT/paramedic happen upon me coding in the street than any physician.
If neither the emt/paramedic nor the doctor had any supplies, what could the emt/paramedic do that the doctor could not?
 

zwitterion34

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In reality, aren't all physicians (MD/DO) somewhat competent when seeing a person that needs treatment (in the streets for example)?
 

orthomyxo

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I guess any doctor would do. It's not like they'd be doing a thoracotomy with a pencil in the middle of a sidewalk/restaurant/whatever. I'd like to hope that most physicians know how to do CPR.
 
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TheMightySmiter

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If neither the emt/paramedic nor the doctor had any supplies, what could the emt/paramedic do that the doctor could not?
The EMT/medic is used to working in the field with limited resources and probably will be calmer and better able to improvise treatment.
 

ILikeDrugs

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I think they all learn how to give BLS or do the Heimlich maneuver, so all of them. When was the last time you saw an ER physician walking around the streets with a defibrillator or a trauma surgeon with surgery kits?

I remember during my first semester of college, I had a physician for my A&P class telling us of this one time when he was on a playground with his daughter and some girl fell from the swings and broke her arm. The parents knew that this guy was physician, and then they turned to him and asked, "OMG! What do we do?!?!" His reply: "Go to the ER." :laugh:

Also, I wouldn't try to step in unless I had to perform BLS or the Heimlich or applied pressure to some bleeding. Someone above mentioned that a trauma surgeon could get creative. Being creative with a spork, duct tape, and butter knife to save someone's life on the street could get you sued for something like assault or something of that nature (I don't think the Good Samaritan Law covers health care clinicians), even if you did save the persons life. This isn't the movies, and people are money hungry.
 
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zwitterion34

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Doctor Dre is recommended for situations like these

Didn't realize he was actually a "Doctor" until now. :) What degree/degrees does he have? MD, MD/PhD, DO, PhD, DPM?
 
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Instatewaiter

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The one with a cell phone that has the presence of mind to call 911, make sure that you have a patent airway, and is willing to risk you or your family suing him if you die before paramedics get there.
Sure it can. Being able to win a malpractice suit or real malpractice actually occurring has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you can sue the person. Frivolous lawsuits are standard fare in health care.
Unfortunately some states have essentially struck down good sam laws.
 

zwitterion34

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ME!!! I frequently watch House and Grey's Anatomy, I think I will be best equipped to save anyone's life. Plus, I am trained in the arts of CPR and first aid, got it certified 3 months ago. Dr. Pepper is a drink; not a real doctor.
 

HH Holmes

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ME!!! I frequently watch House and Grey's Anatomy, I think I will be best equipped to save anyone's life. Plus, I am trained in the arts of CPR and first aid, got it certified 3 months ago. Dr. Pepper is a drink; not a real doctor.


:p
 
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