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The orthopedic surgeon left specificinstructions for the recovery roomstaff that
the drain was to beattached to a suction device tohelp remove any fluid buildup
The patient was brought into therecovery room and over the next15-20 minutes she started to feelreally uncomfortable. She noticedthat her belly wasgetting larger andlarger by theminute. Her bellywas getting tighter.She cannotunderstand why.The doctors did nottouch her bellyduring surgery. Thenurses were calledover and they toowere puzzled. Bythe time a doctor came to her bedside,
thepatient's belly wasthe size of awatermelon
. No one had anyexplanation why this washappening. She was not pregnant.She had no prior surgical history toher belly. The only thing thathappened was she went in for kneereplacement surgery and now wasin recovery room and somethingvery wrong is happening veryquickly.One of the surgeons called toevaluate this immediate problemmade a decision that the patientneeds to return back to theoperating room immediately. Shewas given emergency anesthesiaand the doctor immediately cut intothe patient's belly to find out what'sgoing on. The moment the doctor cut into the woman's belly
therewas an immediate gush of air
thatrushed out of the incision.The surgeon then spent the next 45minutes exploring the patient's bowel and intestines to see if therewas some hole or perforation or tear that may have caused air to build up in her belly. The surgeoncould find no answer and nothingabnormal with this woman's belly.The only unusual finding was themassive amount of air that wasreleased as soon as he cut into the patient's abdomen.After rushing the patient intosurgery, and then returning her back to the recovery room,
there wasstill no answer
why this patientdeveloped an acute emergency inher abdomen. It was confusing. Itwas perplexing. It made no sense.When the patient was returned back to the recovery room, the surgeondecided to do some investigating.He took the head nurse and begantalking to the people who werecaring for this patient while in therecovery room after her initial kneesurgery.
The surgeon finally learned theanswer.
Remember when theorthopedic surgeongave specificinstructions that the patient's drain was to beattached to a suctiondevice? Well, the nursewho was assigned tothe patient in therecovery room attachedtubing from the drain inthe patient's knee to anoutlet on the wall andthen turned on thevalve.
The nurse whoattached drainagetubing to the wall outlet did not realizethat instead of attaching it to thesuction device where it would suck fluid out of the wound, she had instead attached it to an oxygendevice.
This meant that instead of fluid andair coming out of the wound,oxygen was being pumped into anentirely closed compartment in the patient's knee. Since there was no place for the oxygen to go, it foundthe path of least resistance under the patient's skin, moved up her legs and up to her belly.
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