Medical Errors in Manuscripts: Know Your Anatomy

Let’s answer the medical question posed in the last post. How do you keep an intubated patient from extubating themselves? There are a couple of options.

One is to sedate them. Sometimes sedation is necessary because the patient is so ill that we need to have total control over the patient’s breathing and we don’t want them “bucking” the ventilator. Bucking is medical lingo for the patient fighting what the ventilator is trying to do. It’s very hard to breathe on a ventilator because the machine is forcing air into the lungs. It’s unnatural in comparison to normal breathing.

skeleton-1243818_1280Two is to restrain them. Typically a patient on a ventilator is restrained at the wrists and these are secured to the bed. Even a sedated patient can have these applied. This is for safety. Lastly, in a highly cooperative, ventilator dependent patient who has grown accustomed to living with the ventilator, they may neither be restrained or sedated. This tends to be more rare.

Let’s move on…

Note to authors everywhere: Know your anatomy. Gray’s Anatomy. The book . . . not the show.

Here’s a paraphrased example I read in a published novel. I’m not going to name the novel or author to protect the innocent. The purpose is to educate.

John Doe looked at the scar that ran along his right rib line, where a splenectomy incision might be.

Did you catch the problem? Your spleen is on your left side. Anatomy questions should be the easiest to research on Google University. Simply type in “what side is the spleen”. Go ahead . . . try it now. What I got was the “left” side in the first four of five options without even going to a web site.

Take the extra time to be sure the easy things are correct.

Medical question for you: What does it mean if you have dextrocardia?