The patients we treat, and the lives we can and can’t save

Disclaimer: Any names or places I use in this entry have been changed in accordance with the laws outlined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect my former patients’ anonymity.

I would be lying if I said I remembered every patient that I’ve seen. I’m pretty good in that when a patient sees me afterward and smiles silently at me, I’ll remember what I did for them; otherwise, my mind is a large mush of cuts, bruises, fainting, backboarding, intoxication, and sprained limbs. There are several people that always stick in my mind, and that I find myself thinking of sometimes.

Just like in real life, I remember all my firsts. Most of these were in controlled, practice settings, so the memories are not as strong, but they still keep a special place in my brain. The first person I set an intravenous needle into was my buddy in my platoon in medic school. The first person I took a real patient history on was a recruit who was reporting sick for a fever. Notice how I said “most of these”.

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