Fainting... so dramatic

  1. 4
    Many of us have probably had patient pass out on us at one time or another. Most of the time, patient is in bed and sits or stands, feels lightheaded, we quickly steady them and get them to the floor, chair or bed before they collapse rather gently.

    On TV, it seems like every time someone passes out, it's always a big dramatic production involving the person falling over at an odd angle, and toppling over several expensive and breakable objects in the process.

    But, have any of you had an experience (patient, friend, family member) where someone passed out in such dramatic fashion? This is meant to be a light-hearted thread where we can share our "As Seen On TV" stories.
    DizzyLizzyNurse, Joe V, Esme12, and 1 other like this.

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  2. 38 Comments...

  3. 11
    Yes! In nursing school I had one of my best friends in my clinical group during our Med/Surg rotation. She's shy, quiet, and small (just some background information). She was paired up with an RN and they went into a pt's room to start an IV, draw blood, and hang fluids. The nurse placed the IV catheter and drew some blood into a vial. My friend was standing behind her and looking over her shoulder. Apparently, the nurse had forgotten a flush so for a couple of seconds, blood was pouring out of the IV cath and all over the pt's arm. My friend started to feel dizzy and proceeded to fall down and forward, hitting the nurse and bumping HER forward and doubling her over the bed right onto the Pt!

    After the pt's bleeding was stopped, the nurse walked my friend towards the door to get out of the Pt's room and BAM! She passed out again, hitting her head on the door. She quickly regained composure but someone had called a rapid response and pretty soon my friend was surrounded by about a dozen people, including the RRT! She was so embarrassed and we always talk about her little Rapid Response episode
    sapphire18, sealford, nursel56, and 8 others like this.
  4. 9
    We had a nursing student who passed out when some bedside procedure was being done. Overkill surgeon did a full neuro exam, EKG, and ordered an IV fluid bolus. I was going to have her sit down and give her a drink.
  5. 23
    I've been "blessed" with chronic orthostatic hypotension.

    Back when I hadn't known DH very long, we were watching tv at my house when someone knocked on the door (it was 9pm, not a time when you're expecting anyone to come calling). I popped up off the couch to go open the door. As I was opening it I turned to tell my then-fiance that it was my friend Terry (whom he hadn't yet met) when my BP crapped out on me. So what DH saw was me opening the door, turning to him while saying, "i---", then me crumpling into a little pile in the doorway. My front door had that "diamond-pane" window style, and my face went thud-thud-thud-thud over every single mullion as I slid down the door.

    Of course both Terry and DH are completely surprised by my sudden collapse, and they both jumped to pick me up. And since neither of them knew the other one, they were both trying to "protect" me from the strange guy who was trying to pick me up from the floor. So as I regained consciousness, I was being grabbed from each end like a rope in a game of tug-of-war.
  6. 11
    While mine wasnt dramatic per say, my daughter likes to tell everyone and its pretty embarassing. I have hypotension also, usually when it strikes I am upright and can just sit down and gather myself and Im fine. Not too long ago I got hot and felt sick to my stomach so I sat down at the table to eat a snack thinking that would help. I took one bite of my donut and passed out, hit my face on my plate and then fell to the floor. My daughter saw the whole thing and tells people that I was eating a donut so fast that it made me pass out.
  7. 11
    the wife of one of our patients was given to "passing out" whenever she didn't get what she wanted. it was always quite dramatic, but i'll never forget the one time the surgeons were rounding. there were about a dozen, from world famous attending down to lowly medical student. the wife had been asked to leave the patient's room for whatever reason, and she didn't want to do it. so she dramatically burst into the center of the group of surgeons, grasped the world famous attending by the collar and demanded that the nurse be fired for "kicking me out." then her eyes rolled back in her head and she "started to pass out," somehow managing to stay on her feet until her son had yanked a rolling chair out from under an unsuspecting and uninvolved nurse and thrust it underneath her. as she "fell" she managed to take out a couple of medical students and yank the pockets off a resident's lab coat. someone's phone hit the floor and smashed. our manager, charge nurse and social worker rushed to her "aid." the kicker for me, was watching her peer out from under her eyelashes at the commotion she'd caused, and then later when she bragged about the uproar.
    DizzyLizzyNurse, GrnTea, sealford, and 8 others like this.
  8. 3
    This incident didn't happen in a clinical setting, but rather in the check out lane at Target where I was working as a cashier a few years ago. As the lady was unloading her groceries, I noticed she was clearly pregnant, so in an attempt to make small talk I asked her when her baby was due etc. Typical small talk. As she stepped up to slide her card through the credit card machine, her demeanor changed and she got a bit snippy. All of a sudden her eyes roll to the back of her head and she goes down like a sack of potatoes and her head hits the checkout behind her. It was one of the most sickening sounds I have ever heard. Even though we have been "trained" for these situations, it was like everyone around me forgot what in the heck they were supposed to be doing. Nobody could remember how to use the intercom, and I found myself trying to get help while also trying to make sure the "patient" was okay. Another lady walked up and "took over" caring for the pt. She didn't identify herself as a nurse until I asked her. It took about 3 minutes for the lady to regain consciousness which seemed like forever. I flagged down the supervisor who called the code for medical emergency, and the cavalry arrived.
    It was quite dramatic for me, and to some extent it made me realize how much I really wanted to be a nurse. I had the shakes for a little while after, naturally.
    DizzyLizzyNurse, GrnTea, and sealford like this.
  9. 1
    I was a nursing student excited to see a surgery during my elective. The surgery that I was assigned to was a revision of a lower extremity amputation. I was fine until the surgeon held the soon to be revised what remained of the leg up in the air.....I began to see stars and excused myself and hustled to someplace to sit. Where that was, I don't know.....I think the circulating nurse grabbed a chair for me. I wanted to crawl under the nearest OR table, I was so embarrassed. She assured me that what I experienced was pretty normal for a first time observer of an amputation. Goodness......
    sealford likes this.
  10. 1
    I have had fainting spells since I was a teen. The last time was about five years ago, and it was a very dramatic fall. I felt lightheaded, went to sit down, then I *thought* I was fine. I got back up, said a sentence of two to my husband then BOOM! I knocked a couple things off the dining room table, hit and knocked over a dining room chair, and landed in such a way that I chipped the fibular head of my right leg. I woke up seconds later to my husband's worried face (and slightly amused...he'd been through it before), and my older son saying, "Did Mom just pass out?" as if he couldn't believe what he just witnessed.
    sealford likes this.
  11. 2
    I work in the OR so I have seen my share of fainting. One kid in particular was very dramatic. He was an undergrad (pre-med) observer, and was at the end of a long day and wearing lead. I was standing by the OR main desk and saw him leading over a scrub sink. I asked him if he was ok and was just about to grab a rolling chair when he turned around, stumbled, bounced off a wall, then took out an entire giant rolling rack of implants that we were trialing. I leaped across the desk just in time to stop his head from nailing the floor with my hand. There were boxes everywhere and the crash got everyone's attention!
    GrnTea and sealford like this.


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