Articles  |   September 2019
Preventing Physician Burnout by Providing Support During Crisis
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Critical Care / Education / CPD / Ethics / Medicolegal Issues / Patient Safety / Respiratory System / Thoracic Anesthesia / Quality Improvement / Articles
Articles   |   September 2019
Preventing Physician Burnout by Providing Support During Crisis
ASA Monitor 9 2019, Vol.83, 58-59.
ASA Monitor 9 2019, Vol.83, 58-59.
My name is Stacy Norrell, M.D., and it happened to me.
I was in our inpatient G.I. lab. We’ve all been there: fast-paced procedures often performed on critically ill patients. This patient was not the sickest among these. She was a 46-year-old presenting for PEG placement. We reviewed her health history and discussed her anesthetic concerns. I was well prepared for the case and was present in its entirety. As the gastroenterologist was removing the scope at the end of the procedure, I stepped out of the room, leaving a very capable advanced practice provider with the patient. I was gone for less than one minute when I heard an overhead call for help. The patient was bradycardic. I sprang into action. We were immediately in the throes of a code blue. I had plenty of help within minutes of the code being called. We did everything. After about 30 minutes, the patient’s sister was made available for me to give her an update and to explain what had occurred. The patient suffered a massive pulmonary embolism and was unable to be revived. It was not preventable. This is unequivocally the worst part of our jobs. How do you break this news? How do you explain what has transpired to a family? How can you then, in nearly the same breath, ask this person to let their loved one go? How does the provider cope?
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