Today, I had a Physician Assistant Student (PAS) in the ED. I like to teach, and I do it infrequently enough that it’s fun. Today’s topic: the Lumbar Puncture.
The PAS hadn’t seen an LP before, so we talked about it before the procedure, after a nice long talk with the patient about risks, benefits and alternatives.
This was the best, easiest, smoothest LP I have done in about 2 years, of course. The only other option, given the audience, was abject failure and humilitation, which was thankfully avoided. The patient had very little discomfort (see below), and tolerated it exceptionally well.
Afterward, everyone who had been in the room (the ED tech, the scribe, the PAS and I) were actually laughing (very very professionally) at how easily it went, and how completely unrepresentative of a usual experience the whole thing was. It was a completely unrepresentative introduction to the procedure, and everyone involved pointed that out.
If I were to make a movie about ‘how to perform an LP’ this is the one I wish I had on tape.
(Discomfort is a doctor term for pain that other people feel).