Month: December 2014

Is there a doctor on board?

I have been traveling a bit for residency interviews over the past few weeks, and given that planes, trains, and buses have become my new home, I have been thinking a lot about what I would do if a fellow passenger needed medical help. As we go into the holiday season, I imagine many people with medical training will be traveling, as well.

I was once called upon to assist a passenger in an in-flight medical emergency. It was when I was leaving for vacation after completing my third-year clerkships, and my relatively minimal hands-on experience put me as the highest-ranking medically trained person on the plane. I was thrust into a relatively unfamiliar situation and forced to apply my medical knowledge in the “low-resource” setting of the airplane.

Thankfully, the passenger was stable and didn’t require more than a history and basic physical, but the experience left me wondering how I would have responded if the situation had been more serious.

After the trip, I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could about airline medical emergencies, and what my role would be in one of those situations. I am writing this post to share what I learned. This will be especially helpful to any doctor, nurse, EMT, or other medically trained personnel who reads this and finds themself called upon to respond in the future (an in-flight medical emergency is estimated to occur about once in every 10,000-40,000 travelers).

If you are a medically trained person who has responded to a medical emergency on a plane, train, or in a restaurant, or if you are a person who has been helped by a medical person while traveling, please feel free to share your experience and insight in the comments. (more…)


False Rape Accounts are Exceedingly Rare

The recent resurgence of sexual abuse allegations against Bill Cosby led to some interesting family discussions at the Thanksgiving table recently. In case you have not been following the news, Bill Cosby has allegedly throughout the course of his career sexually assaulted female coworkers; many have now come forward to make their stories public, and the resulting commotion has led to cancellation of new projects that Cosby had been about to launch, as well as a general tarnishing of his iconic reputation.

One of my cousins (let’s call her Allison) works in a support shelter for survivors of domestic violence, and she and another relative (let’s call him Roger) were arguing over how the public and the media should respond to the many allegations. The crux of the debate came from the fact that so many women have been coming forward all seemingly at once. They certainly couldn’t all be telling the truth, Roger asserted. Certainly some of them were doing it for the fame and/or potential money, he guessed. (more…)