Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You can only do the best you can do

a IMG_9604Image by hbp_pix via Flickr

This weekend I helped supervise triage at the NYC Half Marathon. It was to say the least a HOT day. The vast majority of people I saw were with a little support, and salt able to leave my area under the own power. A few were not able to and went to the hospital. It's rather nerve racking to stand by as those who do the next level of care take over. It gets worse when they get carted off to the hospital and one is left without knowing what is going on. You run the event though your mind, was there something I could have done better, could I have gotten to the athlete sooner, etc. And then you hopefully come to the conclusion, as I did, that lacking a finish line in an ER I did the best and I know those I handed the athlete off to, likewise did their best. In the end the athletes recovered and you can only do the best you can do.
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  1. This is actually one of the biggest frustrations in pre-hospital care. With HIPAA laws the way they are, EMTs and paramedics are frequently unable to easily obtain follow-up information about their patients. Without that feedback, it is difficult for the medic to judge how they did on a particular call and hard to learn from mistakes you didn't know you made.

  2. In high school I was a member of our town's volunteer ambulance corps. Back then one didn't bill insurance companies for such services. This was, obviously, all before HIPAA, nevertheless it was rare that I learned the outcome of those we tried our best to help. So we just trained regularly and did our best possibly motivated by the fear that we'd screw up and that would mean someone else suffered.

    On the other hand, while in high school and college as an athletic trainer I always saw "my athletes" again and knew the outcome of their care. Obviously I saw the outcome of my patients. But many of my former chiropractic students go out in the world and the outcome is unknown.

    Life is about living with those uncertainties and doing ones best.