Is there a doctor on board?
- By: David Douglas
As a student I heard stories of doctors fashioning chest drains out of coat hangers (or some other implement) on an aeroplane and never having to pay for flights again—stories in which fear and human frailty did not have a role. They were always things that happened to other people, but a similar incident happened to me three days after my last week as a medical student. I was on board a ship with my wife celebrating completing medical school when the loudspeaker announced, “If there is a doctor on board please come to the purser’s office.”
My heart sank. What should I do? What would you do? Think about it—you have never treated a patient without supervision, you are unable to prescribe medication, and you are not a doctor but you are not really a medical student either. I decided to wait a few minutes before going below.