Can your doctor count?

When it comes to blood loss, not so much. Apparently the docs at Albert Einstein College of Medicine did a test of how good their estimation skills were in cases of severe blood loss in pregnancy. It turned out that in the midst of the important part of dealing with the patient the actual estimations of the amount of blood lost were not right. Once the facts of how much the blood counts really changed in response to the treatments or observations, it turned out the docs under estimated over half the time and over estimated about a fifth of the time. So they wisely have concluded that we need to thinking about better clinical methods of estimating blood loss. Many hospitals have set up (like ours, and most in the state of Illinois) mini courses to show us what a cup or a quart or a gallon really looks like in a bowl or a towel or on a patient simulator. With these courses our guessing will improve. But it's likely a work in progress. So counting is important, but often the count is more complex than it seems to be.


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