Split Decision

These days I divide my time between clinical and consulting work.   in my consulting job I work as a medical command physician for ambulances, helicopters and airlines needing advice and direction on all sorts of medical emergencies.

For the past several months I have been fielding several calls a day regarding screening for *possible* Ebola patients wanting to board a plane or currently in the air and suddenly developing symptoms.

Of all of those phone calls…only one of them had recent travel in Liberia and originated from a West African airport.  All of the rest were from random passengers that vomited, or had diarrhea…but had no travel history, no fevers, no exposure to anyone who had an recent travel history, exposure to the virus, etc, etc.

Part of my job is to reassure and clear those patients who have absolutely zero risk of carrying this particular virus.   But there is so much fear and paranoia that we are fielding calls about nearly anyone who vomits.

God forbid a passenger on Coumadin develops a nose bleed!  That’s a sure call to screen for Ebola even if the passenger is a little old lady from Pasadena who always gets a nosebleed on a plane.


  3 comments for “Split Decision

  1. Mike
    November 27, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Good to see you posting once in a while again. I was following your blogs during your ER stint. My wife was a family practice doc and could relate to your life as a doc. She loved surgery but didn’t want to invest so much of her life in a highly competitive and grueling residency. Unfortunately, she is no longer in practice. Consequences of Tarlov cysts on her thoracic and lumbar spine and damage to her cervical spine from an accident.

  2. Doc Shazam
    November 29, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Mike, thanks for writing! I still do a lot of writing, just not much medical blogging, but I do miss it. I appreciate your comments. 🙂

  3. February 7, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Hey, I just found your blog by accident or maybe it was fate.? I was looking for the poem that Gil Grissom recited in CSI and your blog was in the list of possible answers. You are an amazing writer. I loved reading through some of your entries. I haven’t read all of them yet, but I have bookmarked so I can come back and read them all. I just wanted to let you know I am here! I was just in the ER a week ago with a boring case of sinusitus (as my smartaleck doctor put it). Husband works all the time, and I don’t drive, so I had to wait until he had time to take me, so we ended up in the ER. Anyway, I look forward to reading the rest of your blog!


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