While off the clock and relaxing, it could be a drag to be suddenly compelled to kick things into high gear and get to work as a doctor.
But there is clearly some excitement felt when your expertise is on full display to a room of people that didn't even know about it only seconds before.
These doctors of Reddit are no strangers to the quick pivot from total relaxation to work mode. Their stories of decisive, informed, life-saving action leave one wondering what the statistics truly are: is there always a doctor around when you're in public?
The stories also illustrate another key detail: if you are a doctor and you're on a plane, do NOT let your guard down. That is apparently the place where this moment always seems to go down.
MacyPeridot27 asked, "Doctors who have been in an, 'Is anybody here a doctor?' situation, what happened?"
Right Place, Right Time. All of Them.
"I was flying out of my home airport during my intern year. I had just finished my cardiology rotation (intensive care)."
"The flight attendant asked for a doctor, because a passenger had severe chest pain."
"It turned out there was also my senior resident and my CCU attending on the same flight (unknown to me). All three of us had worked together for the past 2 months and signed off the CCU the day before."
"Like a well oiled machine, we took care of the patient. He was stable thankfully. An ambulance was waiting for him when we landed."
Was He in Coach?!
"Not a doctor but I was on a flight from DC to Chicago and got so sick I passed out upon landing."
"As I was coming to, I was being aided by a man and heard another person shout, 'Are you a doctor?' "
"The man helping me replied, 'I'm the Surgeon General of the United States.' This was Vivek Murthy and it happened around 2015. He was the kindest and humblest guy."
A Different Version of Mom
"I was in the car with my mother who is a doctor when a bad wreck happened about a mile ahead of us on the road outside town."
"I didn't see the crash but all of the sudden we were pulling up to the aftermath, next to a gray-blue Subaru that had its entire front pushed in. The woman driving was still in her seat, sitting upright. "
"My mom got out of the car (maybe called 991? I can't remember) and rushed the driver. She put her hands through the windows and held the woman's head and neck completely still while telling her repeatedly that help was on the way and she needed to stay calm and still."
"It was the most drastic case of code switching ever. My mom is a neurotic, scatterbrained nerd but as soon as she was out of the car she moved so fast and was so focused."
"I remember very vividly how the firefighter had to move my mom's hands away from the driver for her because she couldn't unlock her hands and arms."
Nothing Worse for a Panic Attack than Three Disappointed People Hovering Above You
"I was on a trans-Atlantic flight and the flight attendant came around asking if anyone of us was a doctor. The man in front of me said the he was, and as he was leaving with the attendant he said to his wife, 'I've been waiting my whole career for this!' "
"About 15 minutes later he came back, slightly disgruntled."
"Turned out a woman in first class was having a panic attack, and she ended up with 3 doctors around her all frustrated that they didn't get to do an emergency tracheotomy at 35,000 feet."
He Works Fast
"Not a doctor myself but my dad is a nurse. Some years ago he was dropping my sister and I off at a YMCA."
"As we were in the lobby a 55ish year old man walked out of the gym and started clutching his chest and fell to the ground, had a heart attack."
"My dad immediately recognized it as he works in the ER and sees this stuff all the time and began compressions because his heart had nearly completely stopped."
"As he was giving compressions he yelled at the stunned lifeguard to run and grab the defibrillator for him. My dad managed to resuscitate the guy before the ambulance even got there."
Saving Lives: Not Without It's Perks
"Guy developed rashes after eating the airline food. Got to open up the airline's first aid kit. I personally thought it was pretty well stocked. Guy responded to Benadryl. I got bumped up to first class & got a fruit arrangement & a bottle of wine for helping out."
Father of the Year
"My story involved my son when he was 6 years old. We were in town for my Fathers funeral. That night at the hotel the kids were in the pool. It was packed. He was swimming in the shallow end."
"Next thing I know a girl is holding him saying, 'I think he's drowning.' I pulled him from the pool, asked if he could breathe, he shook his head no. I laid him down, rolled him to his side and hit his back. He started throwing up lungful's of water.
"Finally he says he can breathe. My wife is freaking out and he is white as a ghost. He threw up probably 4-5 times."
"I almost lost my composure when he looked at me and said, 'Thanks for saving me Dad.' "
"During the flight to the south of Italy (lasting about 1 hour) they do not give anything to eat except they pass with a trolley to give candies...needless to say it was the classic situation of the old woman who chokes on it and cannot breathe."
"My dad was called and with a few HEAVY blows on the back he managed to get the candy out of the poor old woman."
"A week goes by and the day of the return on the plane comes, the trolley with the candies passes promptly and out of nowhere a girl sitting in front of my father who was trying to get one is blocked by her friend: 'Don't take it, last week they told me that an old woman got choked up and to free her a doctor had to slap her REALLY REALLY hard on the back!' "
"Not a doctor, but my dad is."
"One time last year he was at a game for our local baseball game, and one of the spectators went into cardiac arrest partway through the game."
"The whole game stopped, things went silent as he ran over and assessed the situation before starting compressions."
"He and the baseball team's doctor kept switching until an ambulance arrived, and I think he ended up being okay."
A Huge Misunderstanding
"I am a Doctor of Education, and I regularly fly from the USA to China. I'm a 'Dr.' on all my tickets and luggage tags."
"One time there was an in flight emergency when a passenger suffered a panic attack. One of the flight attendants cane to my seat and said ,'Excuse me, Dr. Can you come have a look at a passenger in first class?' "
"I said I'm sorry, but I'm not that type of doctor!"
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