January 2, 2014
There has been a standardized patient program at the University of Virginia Medical School for years. Actors pretend to be patients suffering from different ailments. They would be assigned a condition, and then examined by medical students that would try to diagnose their symptoms.
Jim Malloy and his wife Louise have both worked as actors to help the students learn how to work with patients.
"They just see a chart and they are told what, potentially what the problem is...and they come in and do their exam according to their training. So it helps them and then they get feedback from us."
But on the day Jim was pretending to have an abdominal aortic aneurysm, 3rd year Ryan Jones was examining him and noticed something wrong.
"I go in and the story all seems like it would be an aneurysm. So I do the exam and I find what seems to be an abdominal aortic aneurysm."
Jim Malloy says Ryan at first thought he was being tested with a real patient.
"He thought I might have been a ringer that was planted in there to test him. He thought I was a plant with the real situation."
Jim says if left untreated, these aneurysms can be fatal.
"I really didn't think anything of it until the supervising doctor told me they had discovered something. Then I was concerned. That Ryan felt I had an aneurysm."
Now, Louise and Jim Malloy are crediting Ryan with saving his life.
"We spoke with Ryan and I thanked him. He had the courage to speak up which is wonderful. Saved my life. "