Thursday, July 31, 2008

It Takes All Kinds

Twelve hours working in our critical care area last night, and for a while we were getting slammed with patients and things started backing up.  Obviously nobody ever plans on having to come to the ER, but it's interesting to see how different people react.  Some wait by gawking at other patients and asking what's wrong with everyone else who wheels by.  Most complain and act with varying degrees of rudeness.  And some, like a gentleman last night who experienced a vasovagal syncope while visiting from out of town, are polite, patient and funny.  

But he was the exception, not the rule.  My favorite example was a few weeks ago, where we had an old, sick looking lady with a huge history.  While the nurses attempted to place an NG tube, she stopped breathing and eventually lost her pulse.  We start coding her, and immediately the whole area becomes packed.  Chest compressions, crash cart, central line, doctors, nurses, techs, med students moving around and a lot of commotion.  I get a break from doing compressions and stay to grab whatever supplies people need.  Two beds over, I hear another patient start yelling for help.  Ripping open the curtain, I'm worried that I'll find another patient circling the drain.  Instead the man growls at me that he's thirsty, and wants water right away.  With ice.  And a straw.

At the same time all of this is going on, a newer resident goes to discharge one of our patients who'd been placed on a portable monitor in the hall.  He hands her the paperwork, returns to the area where the code is still in progress, and asks one of the nurses who's hanging medications on this pulseless old woman to go pull the discharged patient's IV.  

One of the many things I enjoy about my job is that it gives me the opportunity to see what kind of doctor I want to be, and what kind I don't.

1 comment:

Surgeon in my dreams said...

I found your blog several days ago and have enjoyed going through and reading.

I think, by the way you talk, you will be a fine doctor.

Follow your dream and hang tough when things get rough. We need more of your kind.