An 8 bed ICU in a small hospital... Three codes.. Three nurses.. One physician.
Code #1: A 90 year old woman with pneumonia... This lady was supposed to have died 2 weeks ago. The funeral home even had a room reserved for her!
Code #2: A 52 year old man; just admitted.. post infarct.. stable (yeah right!)
Code #3: A 19 year old female. Post drug overdose... Awake, alert, and talking just 10 minutes prior. Total surprise!
Everyone runs into the elderly woman's room. Why? Because her family is in the room.
I go to the 19 year old's room and tell the respiratory therapist to intubate her. "No way"; she responds. "Give me the d--mned tube." I tubed her. Then told the therapist to bag her.
The supervisor is taking notes in the 90 year old's room.
One nurse is running back and fro.. Doin a lot of moving but not much more. I grab her by the shoulder and ask: "Are you being shot at?" (I'm an ex Vietnam medic). She just stares at me.
Finally; I stand in the middle of the unit and shout; "Anyone here interested in this gentleman in room 5? People just look at me like I'm an idiot.
I go into his room and defibrillate him. Luckily, he comes back to life; but in complete heart block. External pacemaker keeps him under control.
Three codes. The only one who died was the 90 year old lady with pneumonia. Crap! She got all of the attention.
What's wrong with this picture? Two nurses who didn't know their b--ts from a hole in the ground, a physician who was more interested in supporting a dying woman's family, and a nursing supervisor who just didn't give a hoot!
The moral to this story: Know what you're doing and DO IT!
There are a lot of terrific nurses out there. It's the one's who aren't worth a crap who give the rest of us a bad name.
Dec 1, '05
That's just disturbing. Those patients were so lucky you wre there
Dec 1, '05
First, you need to go up the chain of command, write up an incident report to get risk management/administration's attention that the supervisor and fellow staff nurses and the doc are clueless/don't give a s***. You all are darned lucky that only the one patient died. Next time the unit might not be so lucky.
Second, i dont know the laws in your state but in GA I could lose my license for tubing someone even if I were comfortable performing the skill (i know just what I had to learn to pass ACLS). Even if it were to save someone's life!!! which brings us back to the first paragraph.
Do they realize how lucky they were to have you there?
Dec 1, '05
Wow, I can see why you sound so angry. I am not a nurse. Bless your heart. That patient was lucky you were on shift.
Dec 2, '05
Aggravating, isn't it? You can only do what you can at the time.
As I was reading your post I was thinking about what I saw people do during codes when I was a hospital supervisor. It's quite interesting. The nurse who you caught running back and forth doing nothing except moving is a far too common occurrence during codes that you would think. It's because these poor things really don't know how to be helpful during the code and they are not thinking clearly and rationally. These are people who need to be directed to do specific tasks during the code, otherwise they are basically useless.
Dec 2, '05
Wow - it sounds like your risk management dept is gonna be busy!
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