Friday, May 29, 2009

Mistaken Identity

An amusing story from the halls of the university hospital!

The other day, Jack was rounding in the hospital with the Internal Medicine team he's rotating with this month. Before they headed into one patient's room, the attending physician handed him an EKG and said, "Here, read this patient's EKG, and when you're ready, come in and tell us what it says." Then the attending, the residents, and the other students went into the room to see the patient.

A few minutes later, having duly studied the EKG tracing (it's more than just wiggly lines!), Jack followed them in to report.

So, the tracing shows some Q-wave changes in the inferior leads... and some S-T elevation over here... [insert further medical jargon]

[takes EKG to look at it himself]
Very good, it does show those changes! Hmm, we'll have to change our treatment plan based on this...

What does that mean, doc?

Well, it basically means that we're pretty sure you had a heart attack.

What?!?? Are you serious?? They told me my heart was completely clear!


[to another student, whispering] Are we sure this is the right EKG?

Well. As it turned out, he was right on both counts. The EKG did show changes suggesting a heart attack... but it was the EKG of a different patient. Whoops.

(Non sequitur PS: The allergy medicine I got is totally working! Callooh! Callay!)

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