Becoming An Integral Part Of The Medical Technician

Decent Essays
“Ne razumijem!”—the first words I heard a 62 year old male patient shout in agonizing pain as he lay on a bed in the crowded and busy Emergency Room of St. Francis Hospital in Chicago. Recognizing it to be of my native Bosnian/Serbo-Croatian language meaning “I do not understand,” I entered the room as an emergency medical technician (EMT) on my first shift to translate. Becoming an integral part of the medical team with this responsibility, I introduced myself and began talking with the Croatian patient. Noticing tears in his eyes, I learned they were in part due to the pain, but also from fear that he was going to die alone without anyone understanding his last words. Holding his hand in emotional and physical support, I felt myself becoming a part of his life as he expressed his gratitude for being with him since he had lost his immediate family during the war in Bosnia and Croatia. With a sense of understanding, comfort, and trust developing, I continued to hold his hand and progressed through the medical assessment.

Communicating his multiple symptoms to the physician, one specific description stood out to me: a painful, ripping sensation in his lower back and abdomen. Recalling my training and medical literature, this unique description and his medical history seemed consistent with a life-threatening abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). Translating and expressing my concern to the physician, I watched as he palpated the patient’s abdomen and agreed with a possible AAA.
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