Several years ago when I was in nursing school I had an experience with an Emergency Room doctor that was less than positive. In fact, it was downright hurtful because of a just plain wrong assumption he made. It was the operating room rotation of school and I was spending half of the term observing in an operating room. I had been watching a surgery standing on a small stool so that I could see over the surgeon’s shoulder. I was fascinated by what I was watching and standing very still… unfortunately, with my knees locked. I stood too still for too long and the circulation to my legs decreased and my blood pressure dropped. Any guesses what came next? Yes, I fainted. I landed flat on the floor and the next thing I knew one of the OR staff members was waking me from my nap. My instructor arrived and I was taken to the ER to have a doctor make sure I was alright. The doctor who came in the exam room to see me wasted no time in jumping to the conclusion that because I was 20 to 30 pounds overweight I must have skipped breakfast and that was what lead to me fainting. And he told me this conclusion he came to not terribly politely at all. I insisted that yes, I know I am overweight and yes, I am attempting to lose weight but I did not skip breakfast. I had, in fact, had a snack of peanutbutter and crackers just before going into the OR to watch the surgery. My instructor and one of the OR staff tried to explain to him that I had been standing with my knees locked on that stool for at least an hour. He chose to completely ignore the perfectly valid physiological reason for my blood pressure to drop. Instead he continued to harp on the issue of my weight. I remember being very angry, hurt, and offended. I shed a few tears of anger, hurt, and humiliation later that day. But now I’ll share the humorous part of this story. Before our OR rotation the instructor had told all of the students that if we were going to faint, do not fall into the sterile field. Very sage advice. Well, my first words to her after I was awakened was “I didn’t fall into the sterile field!” She got a grin on her face and began to chuckle at that.

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