Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Thing That Came From Somewhere

Last of the year.

A funny thing happened to me the other day. I actually saved a life. Right then and there. (Well, actually, there was a bunch of us, but I was there.)

Working in the ED we cover crash calls (cardiac arrests) for the odd areas of the hospital which no-one else covers - the main entrance, the toilets, that bit over there - you know behind the bins and stuff. So when the call came out for a cardiac arrest in the atrium, off we chuntered.

Usually these calls are NOT arrests. They are people fainting, or falling, or feeling a bit funny, and no-one knows how else to get help. So a sweaty mass of eager docs arrives to surround an old biddy, adding immeasurably to her confusion.

In this case, I arrived first, to find an obese woman prostrate on the floor, her airway being held open by someone (I still don't know who) while she made agonal breathing efforts. While feeling for a pulse, I gather she's waiting for a lift home, having just been discharged from coronary care, following her recent MI.

No pulse.


So myself and the next doc on the scene start CPR. We have no masks. I'm afraid to admit, I balked at mouth to mouth. A mask eventually arrives. No oxygen, mind. We crack on. It's an age since I did mouth to mask.

A monitor arrives. Asystole.


The team, by now, is massive. One of them cuts my tourniquet in half in all the excitement. She is coming to work with us in February. I think I shall call her Death-of-Tourniquets.

A better monitor arrives. VF. I silently curse the first, shitty, monitor. Sadly, many people hear my silent cursing.


Signs of life. This is a result. Proper 'ER' style arrest. CPR, one zap and there is life. We feel like Victor Frankenstein. (Well, I do, but I feel powerfully enough for us all).

Clever cardiology docs arrive and spirit the patient away to gleaming cath labs.

This does not happen very often. I have a self satisfied glow for days. Which id fortunate, because nights in the lead up to New Year, with slow SHOs and wankers on tap might have forced me to self harm otherwise.
Without wishing to sound overly saccharine, despite all the best efforts of the wretched bitch Hewitt, once in a while we do triumph in adversity, often in chaotic surrounds, such as the carpet of the main atrium. And I guess that's a large part of why we keep at it.

Merry New Year, one and all


A Bohemian Road Nurse said...

Nicely done--and Happy New Year across the pond. (As for me, I'm on-call, drat, and just sent one of our own patients to the ER...)

A Bohemian Road Nurse said...

I am still trying to get up the nerve to upgrade my template. I can't bring myself to do it--I'm scared that it'll tear a hole in my universe....

Patient Anonymous said...

Wow, you deserved that one! Hang on to the looks good on you.


sisiphusledge said...

Hi there. I'm interested...interesting blog, posts written by a 'real' doc (as opposed to an 'unreal' doc. a.k.a. psychiatrist like me who gets tired of explaining to people that psychiatrists are 'real' docs but just don't do heroic things like sticking CVP lines in all the time. I've enjoyed what I've read so far, so I think I'll be back, and thanks for the link, BTW,
All the best,
Happy New Year,

Britton said...

So, I don't actually suppose this may have success.
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