Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Pre-residency (6)

Off from my first 24-hour duty in three months. And it felt like August 2003 all over again.

The ER as one big happy family. My classmates and seniors - comforting and reassuring amidst all that toxicity.

I did not tell them what I was really doing there. For me, it was a vacation, a throwback to simpler times when you didn't have to be fully responsible for the life of another person. It was a trip of realization, that when you are dealt a bum hand, you either play it and see if it turns out well, or just fold and take another one.

Disclaimer: Fictional story below. All resemblances or coincidences are not intentional. Other details are missing and is left to the imagination of the reader.

An old man was brought into the triage by a woman with a butch haircut. The patient was cyanotic and gasping. It took about 60 seconds to look for a stretcher inside the ER to bring the patient to the Treatment Room.

As the team started to intubate the obviously collapsing patient, the woman started to make a fuss about how long it took for the patient to be brought from triage to the Treatment Room. She identified herself as a nurse, and that she knew what a collapsing patient looked like.

Code was called, and patient was hooked to a cardiac monitor.

Woman: What's that? (pointing to the monitor)

Member of EM Team: That's asystole.

Woman: Yeah, I know what asystole means. (After a few seconds) Are you satisfied with that? Won't you shock the patient?

Member of EM Team: (Awestruck silence)

Towards the latter part of the code...

Woman: (Looking at a team member injecting something to the patient) What drug is that you're giving my patient?

Member of EM Team: That's Epinephrine.

Woman: Yeah, I know what Epinephrine is. How many have you given? Is that the second dose?

Member of EM Team: No ma'am, this is the seventh dose. We've been running the code for 25 minutes already.

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