Friday, November 10, 2006

How to Save a Life

Ok, so the correct title for this entry should probably be something along the lines of "How to Keep a Senior Citizen from Having His Ribs Unneccessarily Broken", but whatever.

Today I was all done with my work, so I was just sitting around when all of a sudden a "Rapid Response" went off over the hospital intercom. A "Rapid Response" requires every available resident, respiratory tech, and critical care nurse to rush over like a mad person to try and help out.

Anyhow, one of the other interns and I took off down the stairs and over to endoscopy, where some dude had stopped breathing after they had given him some sedation medications. I was helping a respiratory tech give him some breaths via a bag-valve-mask when someone goes, "He doesn't have a pulse, start CPR!" Unfortunately, that person was feeling around unresponsive dude's feet when she said that. (Small arteries are not a good place to check for a pulse when in a critical situation.) I reached down and felt a good femoral pulse, and before they could do anything yelled, "NO CPR!" We hooked him up to a monitor which showed that heart was still working just fine-- he just had stopped breathing on his own after being given a benzodiazepine.

By that time, anesthesia arrived with a reversal agent which woke him up. I'm not really sure why the guy was sedated without being hooked up to a cardiac monitor, which would have let everyone know right away that he was still having a good strong pulse and in a regular rhythm. I'm also not sure why whatever surgical specialist stood back while an intern stepped in and assessed his patient, but then there's quite a few things about this hospital that I don't understand. I think the other intern was hovering somewhere in the corner during all of this, but then he's going into ophthomology, so maybe I shouldn't be too critical.

Tomorrow's my last day on inpatient medicine. Unfortunately, it's another 24-hour shift on call. I'm just hoping for more than 20 minutes of rest.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Thank god you noticed that. This reminded me of when Brett was 7 or so and was choking on a piece of roast beef. I asked him several times if he could breathe and he wouldn't respond verbally or even shake his head "no".

Finally, I just warned him that I was about to break his ribs and did the abdominal thrust and on the second one, it popped right out. Not even one broken rib!

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