A patient with chronic bronchitis is brought into the emergency room with complaints of sudden-onset chest pain, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood. His lab work shows hypoxemia, respiratory acidosis, and elevated red blood cell (RBC) count, white blood cell count, hemoglobin, and hematocrit.
a. Utilizing your understanding of the process of erythropoiesis, why do you think this patient has elevated RBCs, hemoglobin, and hematocrit?
b. What is the most likely cause of the patient’s acute symptoms? How do you explain this?