Experienced one of those rare, "oh shit" moments during a shift last week when a patient unexpectedly coded while being evaluated in one of our regular treatment rooms for a non-cardiac complaint. The resident walked in the room to check on the 60ish year old gentleman, and assumed that the flat line on the monitor was caused by disconnected monitor leads. It wasn't.
He ended up receiving CPR, meds, and three shocks at the bedside after a small army of docs, nurses and techs rushed into the already cramped space. He regained a pulse long enough for us to transfer him to the trauma bay in one of those very rare, made-for-TV moments. Running down the hallway alongside the stretcher, I was pushing the still-attached defibrillator while another nurse dragged the crash cart and the resident bagged the patient. (It's a guaranteed method for clearing the hallways). By the time we reached trauma he was pulseless again, and received a lightning fast intubation before three more rounds of defibrillation and compressions left him stable enough to be rushed up to the ICU, where he kept on living at least through the end of my shift. Definitely an unexpected curveball to shake up an otherwise quiet night.
I was reminded of this event while watching the most recent James Bond movie, Casino Royale, the other night in anticipation for next Friday's release of the newest 007 flim. In one of the more ridiculous scenes, a poisoned Bond staggers out to his car to self-administer his very own AED, but ends up passing out before he can connect the pads. The beautiful Bond Girl arrives in the nick of time, and manages to shock him back to life despite the ominous flatline monotone heard in the background. Medically inaccurate? Yes. But if only real life were like the movies.