Not Only a River in Egypt

My patient was a thirty-something-year-old woman complaining of sudden onset of crampy abdominal pain—a condition for which the lengthy differential diagnosis runs from “nothing-burger” to life-threatening. Often a challenge, even for a seasoned ER doc. On entering the cubicle, I found the patient supine with the head of the bed raised about 20 degrees; she felt most comfortable in that posture. Although not in severe distress, she appeared anxious; worse when a wave of pain traversed her lower abdomen. She …

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