Friday, November 9, 2007

ICU attendings Who the F--- do they think they are ?

Doing my MICU month now as a resident. I am lucky in the fact that my intern already finished a speciality in his country so HE knows what to do in case of emergency. What I noted though in the ICU is the God complex these attending's have. We had a case this week of a very sick patient. She was on a ventilator because of a pneumonia and her kidneys shut down. The only way for her to survive and possibly recover was dialysis. That's where our attending's and "ethics" panel come in. The husband married to her for 50 years wanted everything to keep her alive, she wasn't some demented Alzheimer like patient, but was alert and oriented with her mind functioning perfectly. Our Ethics panel though thought differently. They wrote in their opinion that she was a sick lady and dialysis would be of little benefit because of her age and illness. Now I don't disagree that this women was ill and a few months or years later would not return with another pneumonia but it would have made a world of difference for him to have his totally functioning wife back for any period of time. Instead we let her lapse into a coma and die.