From watching television we tend to think we know what a hospital emergency looks like: violent, dramatic and optimally bloody. Someone calls the alarm, a team that includes at least one handsome doctor surges into the room, and people yell out “STAT!” as needed. The patient always survives.
A real-life hospital emergency tends to be less obviously dramatic — and much more scary. A few weeks ago I had a patient in significant distress. This is the story of how we saved him.