By Emily Reagle Transue, M.D. (email)
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The patient was elderly, cranky, and in the final stage of severe lung disease. Was there any point in putting her on a ventilator? Could she possibly recover sufficiently to go home? This true story by a DMS graduate shows that medical decisions are rarely clear-cut and that some patients defy all the odds.
Emily Transue, a 1996 graduate of Dartmouth Medical School, just finished her residency and a chief residency in internal medicine at the University of Washington. She is now in private practice in Seattle. This story is true, though identifying details have been changed; it took place during Transue's internship year in Seattle. She says that "Ethel Lera" died, quite suddenly of lung cancer, about two years after the events in this story took place.
All illustrations by Bert Dodson