On The Spot

I’ve always wondered how I would react in a situation in the community where something happens that needs medical attention. I’d heard from some friends who had experienced such situations. 

They had either pretended they weren’t medical students or they had risen to the challenge somehow and at least made sure the person ended up in a hospital for further care.

I had my situation today. Far far away from home. 

On the way to the hosp on my elective in India, I saw two motorbikes fallen over and 3 people on the ground. One of them was a man who was already getting up and helping the two girls. One of the girls looked fine and she stood up with help. The other girl however, lay on her back, crying, clutching her left leg. 

At this point I stopped and thought I should do something to help. Scary thing that. Realising that you’re actually in a position that gives you the responsibility to stop and help. I felt hideously unprepared.

Anyway I approached the girl on the ground and my immediate thought was oh my goodness should I introduce myself as a doctor? Because I wasn’t one. But if I didn’t, they’d think I was just a bystander and not really cooperate. 

But I couldn’t stand there and have this internal conflict. I looked for any evidence of fracture or bleeding, etc in that leg. After going through the whole DRSABCD acronym that they’ve drilled into us. By this time a lot of ppl were on the scene and the girl was helped up and she could walk. Yay no fracture. Yay no bleeding. 

My expert advice was to take her to the nearest hospital. Something many others had already figured out. A TukTuk pulled up and the girl hobbled over into it. I tried to comfort her as best as I could and told her she didn’t have a fracture. But she needs to be in a hospital to assess her leg further. She was still in tears and didn’t want me pampering her knee at all. This is probably when the magic words “I’m a doctor” would have helped. 

But I couldn’t do it.

Okay I don’t know why. Yes because it’s the truth, but not saying so probably indicates a lack of confidence in my abilities. Because I’m nearly done. I should be able to handle things like this. I should be able to be a doctor. Nothing major is going to change when I get my degree soon. I’m essentially all done with my training. 

So I suppose I did have an element of lack of confidence.

It ultimately ended well because the girl was okay and I helped a bit I think. 

But if there is a next time, I gotta be more confident. Hopefully that’ll come when I’m put on the spot.

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