When my patient died
How do medical students learn to deal with dying patients? In doing so, Allison Barrett discovered more about herself
- By: Allison M Barrett
It was a day full of firsts: my first day of my clinical years of medical school, first time on call, first time working in the hospital. It was still light out when we got our first trauma page of the evening: “P1 MCC male, +LOC. Trauma 2. ETA 5 min” (see glossary). I didn't know what any of it meant. I was thrilled.
The team rushed downstairs. The patient arrived with a calm emergency medical technician on top of him giving him chest compressions. The technician's head was turned towards the patient's feet. She was watching where the gurney was going instead of watching her hands attempt resuscitation. I think she knew it was hopeless.
The patient was wheeled into the trauma bay, transferred to the table, his clothing stripped, and a monitor was readied to take his vitals. I noticed that in his left tibia there was an