Saturday, September 29, 2007

Person vs patient

Sometimes in the mad rush of blood, bodies, and body breakdowns, it can be lost, the fact, that is, that these people are just that. They're people. They have lives, or at least they did. They are real people, not just a mvc vs tree. Behind their fractured bones, ruptured organs, and bloody faces, they have normal lives. Their incoming call list: mom, home, dad, Aunt Tina; they have people who care about them, people who are there to recieve the 2am call, and actually care. They have little people who call them daddy, or mama, and make a running jump into their arms. They have bills due, time clocks to be swiped, yards to be cut. But here they are, lives in a gamble; dice being rolled, which way will they land? And you must know, that all is being done to keep this person on one of our beds, and not the coroner's. This could be your dad, or your sister. That possibility alone offers that extra incentive, the little push to work quickly, and with compassion, and speak to the family with more feeling. Just the other night a young kid, having some fun on a late night highway with a group of friends and their super bikes, took a nasty, unforgiving spill that landed him in a plastic bag. He'll never walk through the door, little ones running up to him, never be called daddy. But on the bright side, most of the 150-something a night will go home to all of those things; they'll be back to see us again. They're all people. Granted, they are people with diverse aches and complaints, but they're people nonetheless, and taking care of them is what we do.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Love you Honey, crash.

There are myriad of ways to show someone that you love them: Shakespeare wrote about it, Hallmark profits from it, and as February 14th approaches, millions of men seek out ways to show it. Well the other night at the hospital, another of these ways was shown. It was that time of night, about drunk-thirty, people were leaving bars and calling sirened taxis to take them to the hospital. One such person came in the door, blood pressure in the 80's palp with several lacs to the head pumping out blood with every heartbeat; criteria for a level one trauma. As we do the patient juggle from EMS cot to hospital bed, one of the medics gives us the story: "Late 20's male found status post auto-ped, several lacerations to the scalp with large hematoma to the left parietal. Approximately 500cc blood loss on scene, pressure dressings applied, en route vital signs systolic BP 80 by palpation only, heart rate tach-ing in the 120's." This guy also had a pretty good sized chunk from his nose to his lip missing, which was also bleeding but not nearly as bad as his head, and surprisingly, he was able to manage his own airway. But that head, it just kept soaking through the thick dressings we put on it. Dr. G had come down with the trauma team, and before all the monitor leads were connected, he was at the head of the bed irrigating the lacerations and yelling for sutures. Those lacerations had to be closed. Since they were arterial, they weren't going to clot, and would just keep bleeding until there was nothing left to bleed. "I need 2.0 Vicryl" Handed him 2.0 Vicryl. Suturing ensues. "Now get me 2.0 cutting." That's the fastest suturing I've ever seen! He tied off the bleeders first, then a rapid rhythm of in-and-across, and out, and tie, until, "Throw me some more. No, not SH, just the regular." More suturing. It took this really fast surgeon 45 minutes to suture this guy's head so the bleeding would stop. Now theres some serious lacerations. Finally we were able to head out to the CT scanner. We had just left the trauma bay when a lady, handcuffed hands behind her back, a mess of tussled hair glued to her face by tears, and blood splatters on her pale blue shirt, jumped up from her seat and yelled dramatically, "Johnny! I love you!". We thought she was just drunk (found out she was there for a DUI), and kept onward. Only after we did the patient juggle in ICU and were back in the ER did we find out the rest of the story: That girl wasn't just a drunk-she was a drunk who was driving the auto that hit the ped in the auto-ped! And better yet, she turned out to be the girlfriend of our Mr. Head Lac guy. So, Shakespeare, you've got one to add to your list: Running over your significant other with a car is yet another way to show your love. Make a card for that, Hallmark. ;)