How to Help ‘That Guy’ Without Offending Him or Her

Lessons From a ‘Difficult Patient’

Last week I learned a bit of information I’m sure no one needs to know, but I had to share. During my internship the most common question I’ve been asked has to do with my patients.

How can I help ‘That Guy’ without offending him or her?

This is a great question since most of us who have taken this road have either been the person asking the question or are intimately familiar with that person.

As a physician, I get to choose a patient to serve, and I have no right to deny the questioner from seeing him or her. Of course, I have no right to say no to them either.

So this particular example comes from the summer before my third year of practice. It was July, I was in my hospital room, and my patient was a very sick man who could not be moved.

After I had treated him for another day, my other intern came in and said that he was ready to see me. I wasn’t surprised. I had been treating this patient for five days, and I was exhausted. He really needed me. It was obvious that he did not have anywhere else to go, and I could not turn him away. He could wait no more. No one can know how much that means to me.

My intern took me down to the floor where he was laid, and placed him on a trolley that had to be brought down four flights of stairs. I stood at the foot of the stairs and watched the trolley come in.

The first thing we saw was him lying on his back in a pool of blood. I had cut his wrist open on the X-Ray machine, and it was oozing blood. The blood was not clotting, and it was getting heavy.

I decided that I was going to use the tourniquet that I keep in my drawer for situations like this. I don’t usually

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