I'm thinking, "Should I say something? I mean, I'm only a 4th year medical student. I know some stuff, but I don't know as much as an experienced, licensed physician. Although, I suppose I know a lot more than a flight attendant or lay-person. Are there any other physicians on the plane? There are three other 4th year medical students on the plane too (one classmate, and two others that I met just prior to the flight), so all together, we equal a real doctor, right? Even if one of us does volunteer to help, would they want our help even though we don't officially have our M.D. and don't have licenses yet? In addition, I think that some Good Samaritan Laws protect those that provide assistance, but I think that some don't cover "non-medical professionals". Could we potentially be sued since we are just MS4s?"
But before I could even decide whether or not to go up, an obese, greasy guy in sweats sitting near me immediately hit his call button, heading up to the front of the plane. I think to myself, "Oh, I suppose he is a doctor! Well, I'll watch from here and see if he needs help."
A few minutes later, my classmate (who is going into Orthopedic Surgery) walks up, saying that the flight attendant informed him that the guy volunteering was a respiratory therapist. He went up to the front of the plane to provide assistance, and together, him and the RT assessed the patient*, put her on oxygen, and they decided she was stable enough to make it the entire flight.
I'm glad everything worked out okay, but I felt so guilty afterward. I mean, I wasn't trying to avoid helping, I just figured they didn't need me. I thought that guy who volunteered first was a doctor since he was so gung-ho about it. I suppose I should have just asked him if he needed help, just in case. Oh well, woulda coulda shoulda. I know there are a lot of people out there who like to show off that they have the tiniest bit of medical training, and though well-intentioned, I think these people can be more harmful than helpful at times. I guess I'm trying to avoid being one of these people, though I'm almost a doctor... so I really do sorta know what I'm doing, right?
Anyone else ever been in a situation like this? What would you have done?
* She ended up being an elderly woman with CHF who was having severe anxiety