A 67-year-old female patient presents to the emergency room you work at complaining of shortness of breath and pain on the right side of her chest. Upon auscultation of the lung field during the physical exam, you note flatness and diminished breath sounds over the right lung. Her temperature is 101.3°F.
a. What are possible causes of her symptoms and what tests might you expect to be ordered to determine the specific cause of this patient’s symptoms? Why?
b. This patient’s husband tells you he does not understand why she feels short of breath. How might you explain to him the lung physiology that underlies her symptoms?