In All My Career…Stories from the ED





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Vague Complaints
About two years ago, we had a lady come in with vague complaints who began to be hypotensive and tachycardic. Despite all interventions, her pressure continued to deteriorate until she actually went into PEA. Extensive resuscitative measures were carried out by myself and fortunately I was supported by a fellow in cardiology. After all measures were determined to be unsuccessful, the patient was pronounced dead. While discussing the case in an adjacent cubicle, the nurse noted that the patient on the monitor began to manifest an appropriate sinus rhythm and there was a pulse. More fluid was given and the patient who had spontaneously resuscitated herself was admitted to the floor. I later learned that the same scenario re-enacted on the floor where she lost her blood pressure and then her pulse and was once again pronounced dead. Amazingly the same event reoccurred, i.e., the patient developed a spontaneous pulse and respiration and was eventually discharged within several days.
What was very surprising about this case is that about two weeks after the incident, the patient walked into the emergency department, introduced herself to me and thanked me for helping resuscitate her and then told me that “I could hear everything you people were talking about and when you pronounced me dead.” She had no animosity, was not upset, and merely was pointing out a fact. That was a very chilling incident in my life and reminded me that my wife has repeatedly told me over the years that “hearing is the last to go.”


Bruce Janiak, MD

  1. #1 by maagzuurremmers - December 14th, 2015 at 05:09

    “hearing is the last to go.” Can you tell a bit more about this. Havn’t heard about this before and are very interested about this. Why the hearing… not something else?

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