FLYOVER COUNTRY, USA—While flying cross-country from California to New York, Simon Garvey’s worst nightmare came true: an elderly female passenger fainted, and there was an urgent need for medical assistance. When the pilot asked, “Anyone on board a doctor?”, Garvey, a lowly 2nd-year medical student, had no idea how to respond.
After praying that a real doctor was on board and quickly realizing there was not, an internal struggle ensued within Mr. Garvey. “Well, I’m technically not a doctor,” he reasoned to himself. “I should remain silent. If he asks for a med student, then I’ll speak up.
“But c’mon, Simon,” he thought, “why would the pilot ask specifically for a med student? When he asked for a doctor, he really meant any healthcare professional, be it doctor, nurse, paramedic, student, chiropractor, dentist or even a dermatologist. I should say ‘Yes!’ and go help the poor lady.
“Wait, let’s slow down and think this through. Can I actually help her? I’ve only learned from books and cadavers so far. This is real life! She’s alive—well, at least I hope she is. I don’t know how to help living patients! What if I mismanage her, and they discover I’m just a stupid, know-absolutely-nothing student? They’ll sue my ass! That’s it—I’m not saying a word.
“Ugh, wait, don’t be a loser, Simon! What if I save her life?! I’d be a hero—maybe Carly would be so impressed, she’d wanna date me! Oh, but wait, I’m in the dreaded friend zone with her…ugh…sigh…oh, but what about Yolanda?! She’s hot too—maybe if I save this woman, I’ll have a shot with Yolanda! Let’s do it, Simon!
“But what do I even do for syncope? I have no idea. Maybe start with a brain MRI? Oh, you idiot, there’s no MRI machine on a plane. Plane! Wait a minute, we’re on a plane. I read about long plane rides—maybe she has a PE! That’s it! Oh wait, what do you do for a PE? I skipped that lecture. I’m gonna keep quiet.
“Oh, but Yolanda! I gotta do it for Yolanda! It’s settled, I’m speaking up!”
Mr. Garvey then rose from his seat, cleared his throat and proudly proclaimed, “YES! THERE IS A DOCTOR ON BOARD! ME!!”
Everyone on the plane stopped what they were doing and stared intently at him. Finally, an old lady two rows behind him said, “Geez, thanks. We coulda used you 2 hours ago. The poor lady died as the pilot attempted an emergency landing…”