Yesterday I had the rare privilege of helping a person with a significant medical emergency while flying from Minneapolis to Seattle. And, it reminded me why I went to medical school and why most of the time I really enjoy being a doctor. I enjoy helping people who really need help. I enjoy the challenge of doing it in unusual circumstances.

About 20 min after take off, I heard a flight attendant announce, "any medical providers on the plane, please go to the rear now." It jolted me out of my reading and I walked quickly back to find a patient having  a grand mal seizure. The flight attendant was a nurse and shortly a recently graduated young physician and a respiratory therapist came. I found myself doing what I've done for the last 37 years. Giving orders quietly, doing my best to help, trying to look like I know what I am doing. 
As seizures usually do, the problem resolved itself and mostly we tried to keep the patient and passengers calm. I retrieved my stethescope and opthalmoscope/otoscope from my brief case. (This led to my cousin posting a youtube video of Leslie Neilsen in Airplane wearing his stethescope in his ears. :-) ) After 45 minutes, The young lady was stable and I went back to my reading leaving her in the care of the young MD, and his friend the respiratory therapist.
In the process of it all, I had been on my I-pad looking at Uptodate for doses on her medicine, and the pilot had called the University of Pittsburg for advice. My goodness technology is amazing today. At the same time, I was reminded of how little I can do when I am separated from the tools in the emergency room.  At 30000 feet there are things you just don't have.

When it was over, I was really just glad I could help. I suppose that was part of the reason I went to medical school.
3/4/2013 05:55:07 am

Dr. Hodges, even though you were "separated from the tools in the emergency room" you had all you needed...experience, compassion, knowledge and a peace that passes all understanding to handle the situation. You also exhibited the knowledge that the body can take care of itself when given the chance.

I am lucky to be on your team here at Faith. I count myself blessed.

3/4/2013 11:59:13 am

Hey Dwayne Thank you for the kind comment! I am glad to be on the team at Faith with you too!


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