MORAL OF THE STORY IS, EXPERIENCE CANNOT BE SIDE LINED !
Forwarded in writer’s own writing….👇🏻
I had finished my MBBS and was pursuing MD in internal medicine in one of the best government colleges in Kerala. Clearing the tough MD entrance by merit gave me an aura and self pride, that comes along with the name tag and the white coat of a fresh graduate.
I was posted in a ward at the back of the main building. A middle aged man, admitted with some innocuous illness suddenly collapsed, his breathing was heavy, an obvious sign of cardiac arrest. I quickly started cardiac massage with chest compression and basic CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation). Other residents and the duty registrar quickly joined me. Initially we got back pulse, put him on a trolley and rushed him to the cardiac ICU, which was little far away, continuing intermittent chest compression and oxygen. Despite our heroic measures, the patient was continuing to be bad and struggling to breathe, with feeble pulse.
Every staff in the ICU was running; the senior-most nurse in the ICU (almost on the verge of her retirement) was watching all our efforts.
She suddenly stepped in and said, “can you just hold on for a moment?”
She opened the patient’s mouth, extended his neck, and in one swift movement introduced a Magills forceps (a large holding/catching device) into the patient’s mouth. She pulled out the denture that the patient had swallowed; that was the reason for his choking.
Pic – Magills Forceps
It was not a cardiac arrest, just that he had choked on his loose denture.
The man became quiet; the heroic doctors silent, and everyone heaved a sigh of relief. After mumbling some kind of apology and ‘thank you sister’ I left. The weight of my degree suddenly felt like a burden, the white coat too uncomfortable.
What they didn’t tell me in medical school was that degree cannot match experience.
Today, as a senior consultant, during our ICU rounds, if I feel the patient is fine and can be shifted out, I ask the duty nurse whether it is OK to shift out the patient or not. After all, I see the patient for 5 minutes twice a day, while the nurse spends the entire day with the patient. I may know more intricate biochemistry and pathology, but she has better intuitions about the patient.
Take her judgement into confidence too; believe me, it is good to believe her.
Tiny Nair, Cardiologist, PRS Hospital, Trivandrum