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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Things you can't say to my face

True story:

A mother is travelling to the hospital in an ambulance with her daughter, a cardiac patient, who also has CP and uses assistive technology to communicate. Her daughter has a fever of 102 and possibly pneumonia. The EMT, who is unable to get the IV in, suggests using a new method to access the girl’s system internally (despite another easily accessible point – the girl’s g-tube). The mother asks what it is. The EMT pulls out a drill like those you see from a hardware store and tells the mother it will help her easily access the girl’s bone marrow so that she can give the girl any needed medications. Mom, flatly refuses. The EMT in trying to convince mom says,

“We’ve tried this on lots of real people.”




Danielle said...

WHAT! Dear goodness, there are times when we need to just keep our mouths shut. Good grief. What kind of comment is that? Wow

However, to defend his MEDICAL (not social) point of view, an IO line would be much superior to a g-tube if you had to give fluids. You can't replete the intravascular space appropriately the G-tube. I'd do the same thing. To go through the GT would have been extremely inappropriate medical management in an emergency situation.

At least he did something right...

Anonymous said...

As a nurse, I just want to point out that many of the doctors I work with use the term "real people" to mean that they have performed a procedure on real, live, actual patients and not cadavers or medical practice props.

While the comment sounds harsh, it is probably the EMT trying to reassure the mother that he has done the procedure before on patients rather than just in practice and is not an insult to her daughter.

Lisa said...

Oh my god.

Although I have heard of this procedure, I sure hope that the EMT wouldn't forget that just like 'real people' people with CP need an anesthetic for this as well.

I'm not totally sure I buy into the professional slang term above. Not that medical folks don't really say "real people" but they say a lot of things professionally that they would never say in front of the patient. I have heard medical people really say things like "circling the drain" or calling someone an "organ donor" when talking amongst themselves, but I have never heard a med prof use those terms in front of the patient. It is like they develop this automatic switch. OTOH, I have heard medical professionals say all kinds of innappropriate things to and about disabled people to their faces. I suppose it is possible, but in this context, I don't think this EMT had totally checked her attitude outside the ambulance door.

Mete said...

I don't care if he said "real people" to mean "non-CP people" or "non-medical-dummies"... Either way, that comment does NOT inspire confidence in a medical professional!

Anonymous said...

I'm a nurse too, -who at one point in my life was trained to do an IO line (on chicken bones, as I recall) and even understanding what he probably meant, it STILL doesn't inspire any confidence. What it says to me is, the procedure comes up very occasionally, on a couple of occasions within the past few years, I have got to do it on a real person (as opposed to a chicken bone), but am no where near as skilled at it as I am an IV line, which I do pretty much daily, but failed at for your child.

Now I know an IO line is a little easier technically than an IV, particularly on a chronically ill pre-schooler, but there is still NO WAY this guy would be allowed near my child unless we were out in the bounies with the nearest hospital four hours away, and she was in immediate danger.

The comment makes me cringe, perhaps for slightly different reasons. It means, "I MIGHT have a SMALL clue WTH I'm doing" No thanks.