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September 18, 1987

Moonlighter Takes on Airs: Rehydration, Aeration, Obtundation, and Education

Author Affiliations

West Virginia University School of Medicine Morgantown

West Virginia University School of Medicine Morgantown

JAMA. 1987;258(11):1475. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400110057013

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To the Editor.—  The pros and cons of house staff moonlighting have been extensively debated. We have cared for a young physician who developed a previously unreported complication from moonlighting: air embolism.

Report of a Case.—  AA house officer developed a flulike illness with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. He was scheduled to work the evening shift in a nearby community hospital emergency room and because he was worried about dehydration decided to prescribe some intravenous (IV) fluids for himself. Unable to infuse the solution during regular working hours, he drove up the interstate with the IV bag hanging from the rearview mirror of his car. Deciding that the rate of infusion was not rapid enough, he placed the bag under his leg on the car seat in hopes of increasing the rate of administration.The last thing he remembered before losing consciousness was looking down at the IV bag under