Med Student Discovers Fake Aneurysm Patient Really Has an Aneurysm

Good news for people who ask their friends in medical school for health advice.

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Jackson Smith | UVA Health System

Ryan Jones (right) with Jim and Louise Malloy

A medical school simulation turned into a real case when a student diagnosed an actor with a potentially deadly health condition earlier this year, according to a news release published last week by the University of Virginia Health System that is just starting to go viral.

During a training session at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in March 2013, Jim Malloy was supposed to be pretending to be a patient with an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), which is when”the large blood vessel (aorta) that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes abnormally large or balloons outward,” according to the National Library of Medicine’s encyclopedia MedlinePlus. The condition is usually seen in men over 65 and tends to develop gradually over several years. The larger the aneurysm, the more likely it is to rupture and become deadly.

However, a student named Ryan Jones both “heard and felt” symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm in his “patient”. He told WDBJ7, “I said, ‘I think I found an aneurism’ and he played along because that’s his job and so I’m like: Does he actually know he has this?”

A supervising physician recommended Malloy, a married father of seven, see a cardiologist. A few months later, he did, and Jones’s diagnosis was confirmed. Malloy ended up undergoing surgery at the University of Virginia Medical Center in August.

“Don’t ever think you can’t affect a life,” Jim’s wife Louise Malloy said in a Jan. 2 UVA Health System statement. “My husband, Jim, is living proof that you can.” Now Jones, who wants to be a radiation oncologist, is interviewing for residency placements.

(h/t Gawker)