Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Planning Ahead

A patient came to the ED this afternoon with severe shortness of breath and a pulse ox reading of 84%. Of course we got him straight back to a room and hooked up to some supplemental oxygen. He said he had stage 3 COPD, normally uses O2 at home, and started having trouble when his portable tank ran out.

Me: "How far from home were you when that happened?"

Mr. Gasp: "Well we're on the way to visit my in-laws, and we live in Distantville, so I guess about five hours. And we got another two hours to drive before dinner, so I hope you guys can get me out of here soon."

Me: "Okay, and how long does your portable tank normally last?"

Mr. Gasp: "About four hours."

Me: "...Right. So how many tanks did you take with you?"

Mr. Gasp: "Just one, why?"

People, if your life and health depend on medical supplies, remember to bring them along when you travel, and please make sure you've packed enough. Perhaps consult a local third-grader to help you with the arithmetic.

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