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Clinical Investigation

Chapter Sixteen

Harry, a taxi cab driver, is found parked in his taxi and in great pain. He has a puncture wound in his right thorax (where he had been stabbed by an assailant), and the paramedics correctly determine that his lung is collapsed. When he is taken to the hospital and blood gas measurements are taken, he is found to have a high arterial PCO2 and a pH of 7.15. He is treated surgically, and during his recovery smokes numerous cigarettes despite his physician's warning.When blood gas measurements are again performed, his arterial PCO2 and pH are found to be normal, but he shows a car-boxyhemoglobin saturation of 18%. Pulmonary function tests are ordered, and they reveal that he has a vital capacity slightly below normal and an FEV| that is significantly lower than normal.

What condition did Harry have when he was rushed to the hospital? What was the cause of the initial blood gas results, and of his later carboxyhemoglobin levels? Also, what do the pulmonary function tests suggest about Harrry's health?

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