April 22, 2012 • Respond
— The squeeze - WhiteCoat's Call Room
Work in emergency medicine long enough and you get good at figuring out what patient's medical problems are just by their appearance.
He had a pasty color as he was wheeled through the door. Anemic for sure. His abdomen was swollen. Liver failure is my guess. Probably GI bleeding. But he also had the blank stare of someone who was focusing on something other than the world around him. He needed help and he needed help in a hurry. His blood pressure was low. His respirations weren't keeping up with his oxygen needs. His focus was on getting enough air into his lungs. He was able to communicate in short sentences between his quick breaths.
"No chest pain."