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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

He Seemed Like He Couldn't Catch His Breath

We were toned out for a man with difficulty breathing. We arrive on scene and are greeted by the daughter of my patient. As we approached my patient I noted that he was about 70, thin build, good skins (not blue, pale...) and laying on the couch with no apparent distress. The daughter told me that her father only spoke Chinese but that she could translate. The daughter then informed us that my patient has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. While he was on the his way to his appointment yesterday he started feeling short of breath and ended up being seen at the ER. There he received a steroid shot and was sent home. After going through a thorough assessment AMR showed up. At this point, my patient asked if was going to the hospital...in English! At that point the assessment took a radical turn. I was able to talk to my patient directly and found out that he had no medical complaint at all. He had just been laying on the couch taking a nap when we had shown up. When I confronted his daughter she simply said, "He seemed like he couldn't catch his breath." I got the distinct impression that they were just trying to get an evening off from taking care of their sick father. The father must have understood this. He said he would go to the hospital because his family wanted him to go. Now I understand that taking care of someone as their health is deteriorating is a daunting and overwhelming task but calling 911 for a "baby sitter"...that's not right.
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2 comments:

Hydrant girl said...

Brutal. I wonder how many times did dad babysit them w/out complaint?

Dave Hayes said...

If I had a dime for every time this happened to me, I'd be retired by now. Good point from Hydrant Girl; Forty years ago, our grandparents were the most respected and honored people in the house. Now people just want to ditch them so they can do what they want. A sad commentary on our generation.

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