What You Don’t Want to See

If you listen closely you can hear several things…

You hear the charge nurse watching the monitor at the tele station go, “Oh shit!” Jump up, grab the code cart and go hauling ass down the hall. Then the nurse at the station right next to him calling the operator and the overhead announcing “Code 99 to XXX.” Next you hear the page go live and pagers going off and nurses running down the hall with the COde Team hot on their heels.

He was down on the floor, half in, half out of the bathroom, all 300+lbs. of him. No time to move so they worked him on the floor, half in, half out of the bathroom. One nurse was standing on the toilet with their butt in the face of the one in the shower. The floor was covered in the miasma of body fluids and blood as the guy came to a little and started tearing out IVs. They shocked him once and got a rhythm back and like a bat out of hell, off to the unit. If memory serves, guy came back up to our floor about a week later, in pretty good shape all things considered.

Looking at the strip several things strike me. One is that this the last time I ever want to see a R-on-T phenomenon live and in person. Second, dude was damn lucky he was in the hospital, on a monitored unit with ACLS-certified nurses caring for him and a Code Team 30 seconds away. If he had been out in the regular world, things might not have turned up so rosy. I guess this could have been a case of Sudden Cardiac Death, but he was lucky. Third is that how quickly life can turn on you. One moment you’re getting up to take a leak in the middle of the night and the next you’re on the floor after having died for a couple of seconds. Kind of brings things into perspective. Finally, that tele tech who the charge nurse was covering for while they were away at the bathroom? Yeah, they don’t get a bathroom break ever again. This was not the first time. No, this was the third or fourth time that they stepped away and something unfortunate goes down. It’s just bad luck.

I wish I had saved my other favorite strip from a while ago. It was sinus with an 7 second pause. All you saw were these little P-waves, but you could call it asystole. Like above, they were dead, if only for about 7 seconds (isn’t that the length of a champion bull ride?).


One Comment

  1. we had a code in the hall outside the ER one night, was a visitor from upstairs on their way back out to the parking lot. If you have to code suddenly you can’t be any luckier than that.


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