But I've had a really rough day.
It started out well enough. Quiet department. Easy does it. The first case I saw was a young chap, attempted hanging. Not too bad really. No obvious neck injury, lungs seemed ok. Slowly, slowly crept his hypoxia. I've seen this before - negative pressure pulmonary oedema. Can develop very rapidly, and produce profound hypoxia. CPAP should see him right, but I hope they're as watchful on the ward... details to follow.
Next a collapsed adult. 68 years old, driving his car, fainted. Developed severe abdominal and back pain. Hypotensive and tachycardic on scene, his blood pressure had picked up a bit when he got to us, but his pulse was still batting along.
I know what you're all thinking.
Me too. We have no vascular surgeons here. We're supposed to assess them 'on the trolley' and transfer them out. I almost sent him on his way. But there was a history of trauma, and no history of aneurysm. He'd fallen, injured his ribs, on the left side. I could see the bruising. What if it's his spleen?
Split second decision.
I kept him.
He faded away right in front of me. Tried almost everything. Not that there's much to try. Too late to reverse his warfarin. Ultrasound confirmed his 7.5 cm aneurysm. He lasted about 45 minutes. I have been reminded that even though this fella's fate was inevitable, the wrong decision is still the wrong decision.
Some days, I really love my job