"Just five more minutes…He might be revived after this round of shock…Please, sir, respond to us… if we give up now, it will be the last of you, if I released my hands now, nothing else can save you…"
You know.. I never really thought that could literally be in our hands, I mean, of course I know that in the healthcare profession, one can
diagnose wrongly, prescribe the wrong medication, resulting in the possible death of the patient at hand. I never really thought of it, until I came into this Emergency Medicine posting, where we’re exposed to cases fresh from the community – people from road traffic accidents, people who were poisoned, those had a heart attack or a stroke, people in real pain. Y’know the scenarios we watched on ER TV series oh-so-long ago, or when something terrible goes wrong with the patient in House? Yeah. You get the idea. All the tubes, the injections, the intubation, the defibrillation, CPR etc etc. (If only it was always that exciting in Seremban Hospital. lol, but that’s beside the point.)
But what really impacted me after a class this week was that the patient’s life was literally in our hands. It will be our choice whether we choose to try our utmost best to save him, or we choose to let him slip away, following the course of nature to his death. The moment we stop our resuscitation, it is like a sign to say, we’ve given up, there’s no hope to save him anymore. (For your information, the general idea would be to stop resuscitation after 30 minutes of failed attempts to revive the person. Imagine that, if you were in a situation where you’ll need to be resuscitated, I URGE you, please PLEASE try to wake up in 30 minutes, if you can, that is)
Suddenly the responsibility of a doctor in acute situations like these seem so overwhelming. Here, in my hands, lie a person’s future. My decision will take effect on this person’s life, this person’s family and friends. Wow. If this doesn’t shake you to the bone, here’s more…
I began to ponder more upon life, this very life we live, and then I realized that there is a far greater and important life which we should really really really pay attention to – life after death. The choice I make to stop ‘resuscitating’ people into knowing Christ can lead to that person’s death – a death so much worse than what I had described earlier, an eternal death, filled with pain, guilt and anguish. In our hands, as Christians, we are given the choice to save lives, or just let things be, allowing people to slip away, "following the course of nature to their deaths". Y’see, the point is not whether the person responds or not to the attempts, but whether we choose to attempt or not is what matters and the best thing about this ‘procedure’ is that there is no need for intubations, no need for ventilators, no need for 20 compressions to 2 breaths.. all we need to do is tell – "GO and TELL". That is all which is required of us, yet there is the complacency among us, and I am definitely not innocent of it. "How will they know if we do not tell?"
This very thought should shake you to the very core of your soul, if it doesn’t, I really don’t know what will.