Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Medical Miracles

By and large, I don't believe in miracles. I am a vaguely religious man, so I'm sure they're possible. I just think the phrase is rather over-used, and had come to mean an unexpected, improbable outcome, not a true miracle.

Still, on Christmas morning, I found myself waiting in Resus, checking the kit. The call didn't offer much hope. An elderly patient, visiting family for the holiday, had fallen down the stairs. No output with the Paramedics. This sort of call tends to be an 'in-and-out' job. If they haven't got an output back by the time they get to us, they probably aren't going to. And while the NHS isn't ageist, God is, I'm afriad. Your chances of surviving cardiac arrest are not improved by being over 80...

Despite my fears, six minutes later, we were greeted with a bounding pulse. A moment of light relief passed us by, when the charge nurse briefly attempted one handed CPR while cannulating with the other hand. We waited, checking the scene, quiet bar for the slow rhythmic hiss of the ventilatotor; once the adrenaline wears off...

Half an hour later, the patient was warm, well oxygenated and ventilated, and still going. The intensivists duly attended and spirited our patient away.

Will they recover? I honestly doubt it, but maybe hope is all you get at Christmas.

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