• Question: What is the most life threatening descisions you have ever had to make?

    Asked by Lily Herd to Kit on 9 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Kit Tigwell

      Kit Tigwell answered on 9 Nov 2017:


      As a fairly junior junior doctor critically unwell people are usually managed as part of a team so it’s unusual to make big decisions on your own. I’ve been part of trauma teams in A&E and resuscitation teams where the everyone takes part in life saving treatment led by a senior doctor.

      Emergencies can happen anywhere so I have been the first person to arrive at an unconscious patient and had to decide how to assess and treat them. That involved things like maintaining their airway so they can breathe, supporting their heart and circulation and generally keeping them alive until help arrived. I’ve also diagnosed and started treatment for things like heart attacks on my own, which can be life saving. You get a lot of training on it so it’s like second nature when it happens in real life, but still a bit scary!

      The other side to this is deciding if & when to stop treating people with life threatening problems. This is always done as part of a team with doctors, nurses, patients and family when the feeling is that further treatment is not going to be in their best interests and might cause harm.

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