Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sometimes, we do make a difference

The other day, after yet another frustrating shift, I gave blood at a bloodmobile at the hospital.
After donating I sat in the canteen to have a drink before driving home and the volunteer asked me if I worked in the ER. She said "I was in on Sunday with my husband, he had a heart attack." Not knowing how he had made out I wasn't sure how to respond. Then she said, "You were all so kind and did such a great job, he ended up going to Yale and getting 3 stents, he came home Tuesday."
A breath of relief from me. I thanked her and we talked about it.
I think I remember the case. It wasn't too busy at the time and we had enough help to provide the resources needed at the moment. This is when we are at our best in the ED.
We see enough chest pain to be well practiced. If we have enough staff available it is like a symphony. Techs, medics, nurses, doctors, xray,registration, unit coordinator, all working simultaneously in harmony.
In 15 minutes we can have the patient undressed, on the monitor and oxygen, aspirin and nitro given, chest xray done, 2 IV lines, blood to the lab, a troponin done in the ED (a cardiac specific blood test), history and medications entered into the record, a STEMI kit with life saving meds started if appropriate and Life Star ready to fly. During this time someone will be comforting explaining to the patient and family.
This is what happens when you have the needed resources, experience, and practice.
Truly it is the ED at it's best.
It is why we come back day after day and put up with the abuse we do, because sometimes, what we do really makes a difference.
At times like this I am proud of what I do and proud of my coworkers.

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