LEGAL QUESTIONS: Providing faint comfort

June 2004 
Volume 34  Number 6
Pages 26 - 26
  PDF Version Available!

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 34(6)             June 2004             p 26 Providing faint comfort [LEGAL QUESTIONS: FAMILY MEMBER INJURED]


A woman who was having trouble breathing and felt pressure in her chest was diagnosed with spontaneous pneumothorax and admitted to my unit. The physician decided to insert a chest tube and explained to the patient and her husband what the procedure would entail. He told the patient that she'd feel as if she were drowning for a few seconds, but that she'd receive some anesthetic to help with the pain. She asked if her husband could stay with her, and the physician said yes .

Despite the anesthetic, the patient was clearly quite uncomfortable and frightened during the procedure. After the tube was inserted and the patient's dyspnea started to resolve, her husband went out to the hall ...

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