May 9, 2016

How a patient gets care

whatwedoA patient comes to your hospital. The patient is a young man with a painful, swollen abdomen. The swelling is on his left side, so you rule out appendicitis. The disorder involves the spleen. The patient is in decline and you prepare to remove the spleen.

But before you operate, you request a remote consult using telemedicine. An intensive care specialist in another country connects with you over the Internet and asks some questions. Then another specialist on the international panel joins you over the Internet and diagnoses the young man’s condition as a rare form of tuberculosis.

They recommend an antibiotic available at your hospital and the patient is doing much better in three days. Had you done the operation, the patient would probably have died. This example is based on a true story.