Friday, November 4, 2011

Killing and Saving

I have been so worried about killing someone; fearful that I would do something that would result in death, fearful that I would inadvertently take someones life.

Last night I had a patient, they were sick, but not in acute distress. The labs didn't match the patients appearance. They were sweet, alert, oriented. They were sick. I treated the problems and they looked better.  But as the night progressed, the labs weren't improving. The patient seemed to be clinically getting worse, despite physically looking better.

What was I missing? What didn't I see? I ordered some tests, ordered more labs. I watched close.

I realized, after all these many months, that I've been afraid of the wrong thing. I am more likely to not save someone than I am to kill someone. Maybe you think that's semantics, but it's not. It's not the same thing; it's very different. One is doing too much and causing something to happen. The other is not doing enough and not causing something to happen.

Ignorance is not bliss; it's a liability.

The patient looks fine tonight. They have much improved. My initial thoughts were right, some numbers just hadn't peaked yet.
This has made me think about some things differently, though.

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