One of the most interesting aspects of HIMSS are the stories that emerge during the conference. There are the “macro” stories like the announcements of new joint ventures and there are the “micro” stories of individual triumphs.
I love the personal stories that I hear/over-hear at HIMSS. Over the years I find that I remember these personal tales more vividly than I do the product announcements. Yesterday on #HIMSS16 Day 1, I heard the most incredible story in my nine years of attending the conference.
Rasu Shrestha MD MBA @RasuShrestha, Chief Innovation Officer at UPMC and Executive Vice President at UPMC Enterprises shared with me how he treated an injured passenger on his flight to Las Vegas for #HIMSS16.
Shortly after taking off from Pittsburgh airport, a straight-out-of-TV request came over the plane’s PA system: “Is there a medical doctor on board? If so, please identify yourself to the crew.” As with all other flights to Las Vegas this week, the plane was filled with fellow HIMSS attendees, but only Dr. Shrestha identified himself as an MD. He was quickly brought to an unconscious passenger in the aisle near the back of the plane.
The fallen man had collapsed on the way to the restroom and had hit his head on one of the foot rests, causing a gash on his forehead. When Dr. Shrestha arrived the man was bleeding profusely. After quickly assessing the situation, he sprang into action. Using only the plane’s first aid kit, Dr. Shrestha staunched the bleeding but the man remained unconscious. At this point two nurses who happened to be on board, came to help Dr. Shrestha and together they managed to stabilize the injured man.
“Had they had a suture kit on board I would have dressed his head injury right there on the plane” said Shrestha, “It was clear to me he needed stitches.”
The impromptu care team did so well that the man was able to complete the flight to Las Vegas without an emergency landing. Paramedics met the plane on arrival and took the injured man to a local hospital. He is recovering nicely. In recognition for his good deed, all the passengers and flight crew gave Dr. Shrestha an enthusiastic round of applause.
As Dr. Shrestha finished his story, it was easy to see how moved he was by this gesture from his fellow passengers – most of whom are part of the Pittsburgh healthcare community.
For me, this is likely going to be the most memorable story of #HIMSS16 – or any HIMSS for that matter…and we’re only on Day 1!