On Being a Patient: Sounds for a Waking Coma Patient

Ms. Green shares that, “The most important sound in the world, to my mind, is the rhythmic huffing of a ventilator in an intensive care unit.”

Use this essay to:

  • Listen to an audio recording of the essay, read by Dr. Virginia Hood.
  • Have you ever thought about how the world looks and sounds to a patient who wakes up in a hospital bed?
  • What is Ms. Green hearing that sounds like the grunting of a pig?
  • Can thinking about how things appear and sound from the patient's perspective help us to be better physicians?
  • Ask a patient who has had a long stay in intensive care whether she or he would be willing, or even would appreciate, talking to you about periods where what was happening did not seem clear. Ask about other experiences during their ICU or hospital stay.

Annals of Internal Medicine is the premier internal medicine academic journal published by the American College of Physicians (ACP). It is one of the most widely cited and influential specialty medical journals in the world.

Back to the August 2020 issue of ACP IMpact