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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Unexpected Symptoms

Universal Assistance asked me to see a young woman with abdominal pain at the Airport Marriott. According to the dispatcher, she had no other symptoms.

As I’ve mentioned, I prefer abdominal pain accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea. This is usually a stomach virus and easy to treat. Abdominal pain alone is trickier. Talking to the guest beforehand, I often conclude that he or she requires more than I can provide in a hotel room.

I never talk to guests when travel insurers call, so I sometimes encounter an urgent problem. A big advantage of dealing with an urgent problem through travel insurers is that I send them a bill and get paid. When guests call directly, I always discuss my fee, but in the distress of hearing upsetting news during the visit, dealing with paramedics, or hurrying off to an emergency room, they sometimes forget to pay, and I’m reluctant to remind them.

Arriving in the room, I learned things the insurance dispatcher hadn’t mentioned. The woman was three months pregnant and had noticed vaginal bleeding. That meant she had to go to an emergency room. It’s surprising how often doctors know the diagnosis as soon they set foot in the room, but it looks bad to blurt it out, so I asked questions, performed an exam, delivered my conclusions, and then phoned the insurance office with the news.

The following afternoon, the lady’s husband called. They were back in the hotel. The emergency room doctor had diagnosed a miscarriage, he explained. That was also my diagnosis.

The doctor had discharged his wife, he added. But she was still bleeding. Was that normal?...

Bleeding stops when a miscarriage is complete; if it continues, a doctor performs a D&C to remove remaining tissue. I have no explanation of why she was sent out still bleeding. I told the husband that, sadly, he would have to take her back. The second time she received her D&C.   

1 comment:

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