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Crossing over to the other side

Michael J Mackay
Med J Aust 2010; 193 (11): 711-713.
Published online: 6 December 2010

What happened when a doctor on duty in the emergency department suddenly made the transition to “patient in Resus 2”?

“I am not sure exactly why you would want to put your coronary arteries through a full day of paediatric anaesthetics ...” a colleague had written in an email I was perusing in the emergency department on the morning of New Years Day. Suddenly, and unrelated to the contents of the email, I developed extreme anxiety. Recalling that, years ago, frequent irregular ectopic heartbeats had created similar, less severe anxiety, I felt my pulse, expecting to find it irregular. My pulse was regular, but the rate was 120 beats/min. I walked to the tearoom, hoping that whatever it was would go away. Although I had no chest pain, the short walk convinced me I could not ignore the symptoms. I told a colleague I thought I had SVT. In seconds, I made the transition from “doctor on duty in the emergency department” to “patient in Resus 2”.

  • Michael J Mackay

  • Emergency Department and Department of of Anaesthetics, Gympie Hospital, Gympie, QLD.

Correspondence: mmackay@matilda.net.au

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