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Health Care

What is the most stressful situation you've been in while dealing with a patient.

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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Zaire,

I'm reaching out to share a story from my past when I was just 18 years old. It was 1975, and I found myself in a critical situation, attempting to resuscitate a Judge at his vacation home in Point Lookout. Unfortunately, we were facing a significant challenge - our telecommunications provider, Telstra, had not prioritized the repair of our phone at the surf life-saving club that week.

This delay had severe consequences. By the time we reached the Judge, almost 20 minutes had passed, and his complexion was beginning to turn a worrying shade of gray. I immediately began administering oxygen using the Oxy-Viva resuscitation machine. For a fleeting moment, we experienced a surge of hope as the Judge's natural color started to return.

But then, the Doctor approached us. He requested to examine the Judge, opening his eyes to the morning sunlight. The lack of pupil contraction was a clear sign - the Judge had passed away. The Doctor was tasked with the heartbreaking duty of informing the family that they had lost a father and husband.

I was left with a heavy sense of failure, a feeling that was amplified by Telstra's negligence in repairing our phone on time.

May God bless you!

James Constantine.
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Bether’s Answer

when you do direct patient care particularly in a hospital setting, some of the patients are expected to die because they are in a situation where no one could possibly keep them alive. even though it's sad, it's not as stressful as when you are taking care of a patient who is not supposed to die, or is not expected to die, and they die anyways. sometimes you know why that happened and sometimes you don't. also in medicine the pace of care can be so fast it's impossible to keep up, and yet you simply cannot make a mistake or you could seriously injure or accidentally kill someone. not only would it be terrible simply because you never want for bad things to happen to anyone, you could also get sued and lose your license. fortunately that has never happened to me. but working just knowing that is a constant possibility is really stressful when you are super busy working with patients that are very unstable and the staffing is terrible. it never gets easier. unless you get a job working with well people in an outpatient setting. which is what i do now. and i love it.
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Gerry’s Answer

When I was a pharmacist working in a pediatric hospital, working a code or severe trauma was the most stressful. When we arrived, it was like the parting of the seas. We were responsible for calculating the dose, drawing it up or making a drip, based on the drug requested by the physician.
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Alexa’s Answer

Usually in my field, patients are stressed out. So with that being said they can be a bit rude at times. I know that it’s not on purpose, they are just afraid! But as an individual it can take a toll on you. This doesn’t happen everyday of my life. I enjoy my job and the field I’m in, and there’s stress in any type of job.
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Ebere’s Answer

There was a patient who was known for recurring ED visit due to severe hyperglycemia. During one of her visits, she was in coma and I thought she wasn’t gonna make it alive this time but the care team(all the doctors including nurses e.t.c) were bent on giving her the best care and keeping her alive.

Her blood glucose was controlled so was her electrolytes but I was curious to know how she used her insulin. When she became stable I asked her about her living situation and home meds, all to find out that she had no steady place of aboard and didn’t always follow up with her pcp after hospital discharge. She also told me that she had 2 short acting insulin, had not changed the dosage for years but uses it judiciously.

That was the key problem, her diabetic control was suboptimal, she was supposed to be on one long acting and one short acting insulin but she had no insurance and didn’t bother to follow up with a pcp after every ED visit.

So before she left, I provided her with public health center number that could help her and see if she qualifies for any government medical assistance. I really did not want her next visit to be her last, she was grateful to hear this information and promised to give them a call.

Ebere recommends the following next steps:

Lession: Treat every patient with respect and always assume that you are meeting them for the first time with the goal of giving them the best healthcare possible without any bias. Also try to find out the root cause of patient’s recurring visits, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll discover and save a life in the end.
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