"I'm a DO, that's what we do, we touch people."

A "win" from a recent D.O. graduate.

August 26, 2013

I know personally that teaching is hard work and the rewards are often delayed. Well I have a success for you that hopefully will make you see the effect you have on your students and in turn on the patients that we serve.

The other day I was given an overnight admission. The patient had seen two ER doctors, two overnight doctors who admitted him, and had gotten regular check ups from his PCP. He was a 56 year-old male admitted for observation for dehydration and some acute kidney injury thought to be caused by dehydration. I was told just give him some fluids and he can go in a couple hours. After a thorough osteopathic physical exam I noticed a palpable pulsitile abdominal mass. I quickly grabbed an ultrasound to measure his abdominal aorta. It measured 10.5 cm. After being slightly scared to death, I called surgery and put the necessary steps in place.  He had the surgery, and will live to see another day. [Ed. note: the abdominal aorta carries blood to the abdomen and lower extremities. Normal is less than 4 cm.  At 5 cm a vascular surgical consult is called.  All too often a 10 cm abdominal aorta is found at autopsy or serendipitously when looking for something else.]

My attending who also happens to be the program director for the Internal Medicine program at The University of California Irvine talked to me the next day and said "Karen, you saved that man's life, there are doctors today that still can't make that claim.  There were many doctors before you and every single one of them missed it, he would have left and died."

To that I responded, "I'm a DO, that's what we do, we touch people."  I am so grateful for my osteopathic education, and for all of you ... and my patient told me to tell you that he is grateful too.  At UC Irvine it was a well-deserved win for the osteopathic world and hopefully it opens even more doors in the future.