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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Treat for the 1%

In my job we often treat the patient for the worst case (and usually least likely) scenario. Today we had a 65 year old man that called 911 because he had a splitting headache that came on all if the sudden accompanied with nausea and vomiting. The patient did have a history of hypertension (high blood pressure) and migraines and had just been released earlier in the day from the hospital due to some weakness he had a couple of days ago. The odds are that our patient was just having a bad migraine and he stated that his head hurt similar to others he had had but worse. We could have just left it at that with a great chance that that would have been the cause of the headache. The only problem is that his symptoms could also be caused by a bleeding blood vessel in the brain. The only way to tell is to give him a CT scan (or maybe an MRI, I'm not 100% positive on which one they use in this situation). So we quickly transported him to the ER and treated him as if he had the ruptured aneurysm. It can be amazing what a simple headache and a call to 911 will get you.
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