Letter to the Editor  |   April 2017
I, Too, Am a Physician
Author Affiliations
  • Sheryl Walker, M.D.
    Charleston, South Carolina
Article Information
Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor   |   April 2017
I, Too, Am a Physician
ASA Monitor 04 2017, Vol.81, 72.
ASA Monitor 04 2017, Vol.81, 72.
The article “I Too, Am a Physician” in the January 2017 ASA Monitor brought back memories for me from a few years ago.
I was on a Spirit Airlines flight from the Washington, D.C. area to Myrtle Beach. As the plane was getting ready to depart, the man sitting next to me rang for the flight attendant. When she arrived, he said he didn’t feel well, and asked if he could have some oxygen. She reassured him, and told him it would not be practical or possible for her to give him oxygen, and asked if he wanted some water. When she walked away from our seats, I told him I was a physician, an anesthesiologist specifically, and asked if I could check his pulse. He nodded yes, and when I checked it, his heart rate was 160. Being reasonably certain he was in SVT, I explained to him that he was having an arrhythmia in his heart and that it was causing him to feel short of breath. I told him we had to turn the plane around and get medical attention for him. He didn’t want to do that, and as I was trying to convince him, I had him perform a vagal maneuver (I had him take a deep breath and then bear down), and it broke the SVT temporarily, but it came back shortly thereafter.
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