HM to the Rescue


In the day-to-day grind of practicing medicine, it might be easy to lose perspective, but three weeks ago, hospitalist Rohini Noronha was unexpectedly reminded of the value of her training.

Dr. Noronha, MD, MBBS, MB, program director of Apogee Physicians hospitalist group at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital in Pennsylvania, was aboard a US Airways flight from Philadelphia to Dallas on May 20 when a voice on the public-address system asked for a doctor. She responded and was taken to a man who wasn’t breathing—and instinct and muscle memory took over.

“As a hospitalist, we are always in charge of running all the cardiac codes and arrests in the hospital,” Dr. Noronha says. “That prepared me. If you’re in private practice, you don’t see all those codes.”

Dr. Noronha, a native of India who came to the U.S. about eight years ago, performed CPR and, with the aid of two jolts from an automated external cardiac defibrillator, resuscitated the man. It was a heroic tale of a hospitalist in the right time at the right place—and one that has shined a positive spotlight on HM.

“I was pretty shocked it got so much attention,” Dr. Noronha adds. “This is just what we do. If someone is sick, it’s part of our training to go and help.”

Dr. Noronha’s training began in Mumbai, where she went to medical school, continued with another year of schooling at the University of Massachusetts, and finished with residency at Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore. She has worked with Apogee since 2006. Although she had a brief stint in India in private practice, she chose HM for the pace, the interaction with patients, and the ability to see immediate results—all traits that were on display on May 20. Her patient not only survived, but he was talking when paramedics arrived to ferry him off the plane.

Dr. Noronha eventually took off on her way to a conference. She conducted interviews and politely recounted her story for anyone who asked. She returned to work the next week, where cardiac codes are more routine and her first thought was a guilty pleasure.

“This is so much easier,” she says.

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