In All My Career…Stories from the ED








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When I was working at the Toledo hospital many years ago, we had a patient who came in extremis. She was an elderly female who basically presented as altered mental status. As I began the workup and checked her airway, a person identifying himself as her son admonished me to not do much for mom because she does not wish “to be resuscitated.” Since I didn’t know who he was or what his authority was, I continued with the evaluation and of course checked her blood sugar which was very low. Upon receiving 1 ampule of D50, the patient became awake, alert and in no distress and the son disappeared as soon as possible. I learned later that the son had attempted to terminate his mother by overdosing her on her own insulin. I never heard whether the son who ran away from the emergency department was ever arrested but that certainly left me suspicious of the motives of relatives.

Bruce Janiak, MD

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