So my time in the ED started off at a crawl. Did lots of urine samples and EKGs. Three hours in and (finally!) there is a code 1 three minutes out. My brain tunes out everything else that was said. I sort of went blank. I knew that if CPR was in progress or needed I would be called upon. I was fine with that, just a bit nervous seeing as how I had only ever practiced on a limb-less plastic dummy.
There are two EMTs and two Paramedics wheeling the patient in. One of them is riding on the side performing chest compressions. The patient is an 83 year old male who was found pulseless and apneic by his daughter. He had been that way for at least 4 minutes when the medics arrived. By the time he was rushed into the red pod he had been intubated and had vomit dripping down the sides of his face. With each breath his stomach kept filling with air.
Within ten seconds that vacant room filled with 15 people, 1 patient, and myself. It was sudden chaos, and I was being called to the opposite side of the stretcher to take over compressions. I weaved my way over, dodged a few flailing arms, and stepped up onto the stool. Adrenaline took over and I found myself with my hands on the patient's sternum doing my first real chest compressions. It was nothing like I expected. Although, I'm not quite sure what I was expecting in the first place.
Meanwhile, doctors were shouting orders at nurses and asking the medics question after question. Three minutes go by and the nursing student takes my place. Before I even have time to try and figure out where I should stand the medic at the patient's head asks me to take over bagging. Lucky for me there was a little yellow light that blinked every six seconds, prompting me to squeeze the bag. Two minutes go by. The head doctor stops compressions, checks again for a pulse, and says to continue with cpr. It's my turn. I got out just in time. Not twenty seconds later does the patient vomit and it sprays everywhere. Specifically onto the face of the medic (not wearing proper BSI!) who took over bagging.
Another two minutes, compressions are stopped. A weak femoral pulse is felt. It is short lived. Compressions begin again. This goes on for twenty three minutes. Finally the patient has regained a pulse, at least for a short time, and the doctors kick us out to do their thing. Whatever that might be.
I don't know what happened to the man. His daughter had disappeared when EMS arrived on scene, and she never showed at the hospital.
That was 24 days ago. I can still picture every detail about the man's face, and I remember all the tattoos he had on his chest and arms. And sometimes I find myself wondering who he was, what kind of life he lived, how he ended up exposed on a backboard with a tube down his throat and me pounding on his chest.
So, that was exciting. I wish I knew the outcome, but I suppose that's just the way it goes sometimes. Time to return to my studies.