Health Vignette

Your youngest brother, Eric, is hit by a car trying to avoid a huge pothole while riding his bike.  As you examine his arm covered in blood, you see something white protruding from the skin of his arm.  Alarmed, you call 911.  Within 12 minutes the Emergency Medical Unit arrives. The Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) quickly surveys the scene and reassures you that Eric is okay. The EMT splints Eric's arm and collects relevant medical data from you. Since Eric is bleeding profusely and is losing consciousness, the Paramedic establishes an intravenous line to replenish the fluid Eric lost during the incident. You and Eric are then transported to the Emergency Room of the local hospital.

At the Emergency Room you are met by the Emergency Room Technician who evaluates the situation and guides Eric and you into an examination room. The Physician Assistant (PA) greets you and examines Eric and collects medical information from you. The PA orders various diagnostic tests. The Phlebotomist draws blood samples and sends them to the laboratory for analysis by the Medical Technologist. The Radiologic Technologist x-rays Eric's arm. An ultrasound exam is performed by a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer to ensure that his spleen was not ruptured from the trauma of the fall. Next the Orthopedic Technician stabilizes Eric's arm in a portable splint. Since Eric was complaining of numbness in his fingers, a nerve conduction study was performed by an Electro-diagnostic Technologist.

Based upon the diagnostic and medical findings, it is determined that Eric needs surgery to correct his injuries. The Medical Assistant collects relevant insurance information data from you and establishes medical clearance. Eric is transferred to the operating waiting room where he is met by the Anesthesiologist Assistant who tells Eric and you what to expect and shows Eric, with a Teddy Bear, how he will go to sleep for surgery. Once asleep, the Surgical Technician and the Nurse help the doctors fix Eric's injuries.

In the waiting room you are met by the Patient Advocate who reassures you about Eric's progress. After the surgery, you are encouraged to visit Eric in the post-anesthesia recovery room. Here you both meet the Respiratory Therapist who provides Eric with a "blowing machine" for Eric to practice inflating his lungs.

Eric is then transferred to the Pediatric Wing of the hospital where Eric plays with the other children under the supervision of the Recreation Therapist. The Art Therapist assists Eric with dealing with the emotional trauma of the accident through the expression of his feelings while experiencing finger painting. The Occupational Therapist instructs Eric on how to brush his teeth with the other arm. The Dental Hygienist checks Eric's mouth to determine if other dental care or referral to a dentist is necessary. While recuperating, the Dietetic Technician instructs you in the clever ways of incorporating green vegetables into Eric's diet given some low values that came out from his blood testing.

Two days later Eric is discharged. But the Health Care Team is still working. The Health Information Technician has collected data relevant to Eric's hospitalization and is in the process of submitting the information to your insurance company for reimbursement. The Social Worker has notified the Visiting Health Association to provide a follow-up home visit to you and Eric. The Physical Therapy Assistant will provide instruction for the home environment. And the Public Health Administrator from the Health Department will be evaluating your roadway to seek safer roadway conditions to help eliminate future accidents like the one that occurred to Eric.

Adapted from a writing by Margaret Townsend Warren