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A Piece of My Mind
August 16, 2016

A Wild Rotation

Author Affiliations
  • 1Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, New York
JAMA. 2016;316(7):713-714. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4994

The patient was rushed into the room, listless, intermittently trying to lift his head only to fall back down. Soon, he became unresponsive and cold. I placed the ultrasound probe on his chest and saw a barely contracting heart—heart failure. A massive clot filled the left atrium. The team became silent, then quickly regained its composure, and the supervising doctor began disbursing orders in rapid fire. We stabilized the patient, though he remained in serious condition, and then we shifted to research mode. We emailed doctors across the country: “Have you seen acute dilated cardiomyopathy before in similar patients? He is a 3-year-old meerkat.”