Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Say What??

This is an actual experience of mine from just a few days ago. We had a new consult in the ICU. The patient was brought in for acute respiratory failure and had been intubated. By the time I and Airhead Partner went in to see the patient he had woken up and was stable. We start to question the patient. The patient had a bilateral lower extremity amputation. We were trying to get to the bottom of why, but the patient couldn't talk very clearly because of the endotracheal tube, so here's how the conversation goes:

Me: "Sir, how did you lose your leg?"

I barely finish my sentence and Partner quips in: "Was it drugs?"

Patient: *shakes his finger no and draws his finger in a line along his arm* Ahh ok, something to do with circulation, as is usually the case. Now, was it an arterial thrombus, chronic infection due to his diabetes, injury, or poor circulation?

Before I can even finish my thoughts, as the patient is still pointing to his vessels...Partner: "Oh was it meth?! An explosion in a meth lab??!"

....Say what????

Me: After wiping what I'm sure was a befuddled look on my face and resisting the urge to tell my partner to S.T.F.U, I just took over and said "Sir, before we go any further do you think you could just write it down for me?" He wrote "Pore blood."

Me: "Thank you sir." And with that I walk out, wishing I was capable of conjuring up Petrificus totalus. If anyone could explain how Airhead went from the patient pointing to his wrist to the implication that his lost both of his legs in a meth lab explosion, never mind that most meth users are white and this guy was black...I'm all ears. 

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