Thursday, August 9, 2007

Medical Boards Interactive: "Your Patient Has Died."

I spoke with someone who recently took the medical boards (USMLE Step III, to be exact). There's a section which is interactive -- that is, it give you an actual case, sort of like an old style Infocom adventure game, and you must type in your responses. For example, when I took it a few years back, one of the questions went like this:
Your patient arrives in the emergency department after being beaten with a baseball bat.

> Examine abdomen

He has left upper quadrant tenderness and is complaining of abdominal pain.

> CT scan of abdomen

The CT scan reveals a splenic hematoma

> Call surgery consult
You get the idea. It was actually fun.

Well, the person I spoke to, who recently took this exam, was shaken and lost his confidence. During the interactive part of the exam, he may (or may not) have done something incorrect, because the case abruptly ended with "Your patient develops ventricular fibrillation and dies."

Personally, I think sometimes the people who write exams indulge their twisted sense of humor.

Can anyone verify this?

1 comment:

Dr. J. said...

People die from a ruptured spleen, especially after blunt trauma.

I attempted the simulator and it was a kid who aspirated a peanut.

At my World Class Medical Center "WCMC" we would have had peds-pulmonary bronch the kid in the ED and send him home.

On the simulator, I had to admit him, get a thorasic surgery consult (after much trial and error), and have it removed by them in the OR.

Frustrating stuff.