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Medical Justice

Making healthcare safe for doctors


Healthcare Reform

A Good Samaritan Saves the Day

01/22/16 10:06 AM

We’ve heard plenty of horror stories where someone tried to do the right thing – and got screwed.

Everyone knows the saying, “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.”

Still, my faith in humanity was renewed on January 10th.

I’m an avid cyclist. I ride with an eclectic group. I’m obsessive about cycling when the weather warms up. And I ride with this group until cold weather comes along.

This winter, I decided to try some cold weather riding. I’m not a fan. It requires layers upon layers of thermal gear to avoid turning into a popsicle. But, I like the people I ride with. From all walks of life. All socioeconomic groups. We just like to ride.

Nine miles into this winter ride, Wayne’s front wheel touched the wheel of the cyclist in front of him. Wayne lost his balance, fell, and could not get back on his bike. He was only going 10 miles an hour. But, if you hit right (or in this case, wrong), the potential for damage is real. He was in pain and struggled to bear weight. But, his pain was in his lateral thigh. We were all hoping it was a contusion.

Unbeknownst to us, Wayne fractured his hip. Several cars slowed down and asked if we needed help. One person, Tristan, would not take no for an answer. He took our fellow cyclist, Wayne, to an urgent care facility and was transferred to our regional hospital.

Wayne now has a new hip and we hope he will be back on his bike in Spring. When it warms up. The time of year that it makes sense to ride.

Tristan refused our money – even for the gas to transport Wayne.

My hat’s off to Tristan for helping. He really made a difference.

How often do we hear “Is there a doctor around?” Resist the urge to stay silent. I know the pitfalls of stepping up. I still encourage my fellow professionals to step up.

What do you think? Don’t be shy.

Posted by Medical Justice | in Healthcare Reform | 12 Comments »
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Joe Horton
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Joe Horton

Swissair flight from NYC to Geneva. Is there a doctor on the plane? Guy had fallen next to the lav. Minuscule pupils, but clearly no druggie. Did you just put pilocarpine drops in your eyes? Yes. Don’t do it again until we’re on the ground. Saw insisted I identify myself. Nether sent me a lovely coffee table book of pictures of the Alps. Not much of a punchline. I’m one of those people who will help out even at my peril. It’s why I still work with former patients and accompany them out of town if they need further treatment… Read more »

Jay Shorr
Guest

Although I am not a physician, I worked with and practiced emergency trauma over the years and can never walk away from anyone in need. The slogan, “it feels better to give than to receive” is so true. I’m sure Tristan feels wonderful just knowing he helped another fellow person.
I also feel the same way about helping animals.

This planet needs one another instead of fighting with one another. Please don’t ever consider walking away when you have the option to help. The next one needing help someday just might be YOU.

Stu Pedasso
Guest
Stu Pedasso

I was on a flight, passenger next to me was having chest pain. I administered oxygen, and some propranolol (another passenger had it). Emergency landing in Louisville, trip to hospital, cath, 3 stents later and the fellow is fine. I receive a Christmas card every year from this guy!

Lee
Guest
Lee

I would consider helping but would never consider identifying myself as a physician. I have seen reports of too many malpractice cases that started out that way. Beyond that I am not sure that I would even identify myself by name. Just not worth the hassle. But if asked by law enforcement you must give a correct answer or else.

David
Guest
David

On our flight from San Francisco to Seoul, a passenger suffered a (fatal) heart attack. My wife and I (both physicians) led CPR and instructed the crew as the plane turned around for an hour detour to Seattle. The family and the flight crew were very grateful for our help. But so were the other passengers, MANY of whom said it was reassuring to them to know that doctors will still step up to use their skills when needed. As the plane unloaded at our destination, we were overwhelmed by the number of people who said “Thank you” as they… Read more »

Anon
Guest
Anon

The question has to do with one’s conscience and moral compass. Physicians are like firemen, police, and other first responders who regularly put themselves in harm’s way even when off-duty. Human life is sacred, and having the skills to save a life is a privilege. Do the right thing!

Hippocamper
Guest
Hippocamper

Good story.
Aren’t most physician interventions in these cases protected by ‘Good Samaritan’ laws? But even if they’re not, I feel we need to step up and offer the skills we’ve been given.
Ps Chief: wearing a helmet,right?

John D Woody MD
Guest
John D Woody MD

Bike riding the Hawthorne trail Gainesville Florida Was riding with my daughter a 4th year medical student from Saba University, now a second year anesthesia resident at UPENN. Saw at a distant a large male giving CPR to another large male. When we got there several seconds later, I identified myself as a doctor and checked both the breathing and pulse of the patient. I quickly told the large male to stop CPR, since his son of 12 (very large boy) had a good pulse and was breathing. I opened and maintained his airway and asked the father what happened.… Read more »

SMP
Guest
SMP

these are great anecdotes. I have always maintained that things like “MOC” should include perfecting our skills for aid and resuscitation in the field. (adult AND pediatrics) I saw an article about how Lufthansa has a training program for physicians willing to identify themselves on a flight. they may get some kind of discount, not sure. but what if the physician has been drinking? Honestly, I will never drink while traveling on the off chance that someone may need some kind of assistance. I helped an elderly lady who fell on the train while riding on Amtrak…(about 15 years ago-and… Read more »

Steven Teitelbaum
Guest
Steven Teitelbaum

Kudos to Dr. Woody! I daresay there wouldn’t be very few doctors who would have so promptly figured out what was going on and had the courage to follow through with their hunch. Most of the time doctors confront these situations there is really nothing to do. I find that stopping can relax a scared victim and their friends and family – and that is certainly valuable. The fear I have about stopping is failing to recognize the right thing to do or to do something harmful. It is often hard to figure out what is going on, of course… Read more »

Carla H Schlissel, DDS
Guest
Carla H Schlissel, DDS

Steven – If you have a concern regarding embarrassment by doing the wrong thing – then don’t identify yourself as a physician. You are simply a good samaritan offering your help. But, honestly, I would like to think that physicians know at least as much basic first aid as a Boy Scout. If you don’t, and it goes for everyone in any health care profession, I’d suggest either taking a course in first aid, or (as was said in the first aid course my son and I took) get the First Aid merit badge book from the Boy Scouts of… Read more »

Candace Cohen
Guest
Candace Cohen

I am not a physician however I have been insuring physicians for over 27 years. I pride myself on know all the carriers. I try to get the doctor the lowest premium with the best carrier. However that being said I tip my hat off to the doctor who helps people in need. If you would like me to help you and any of your colleagues please give them my email. Your colleague will be amazed at my knowledge and te service I offer. I know this was not for me to advertise however I could not help myself. looking… Read more »