Day of Codes

  1. It finally happened. It was a day filled with code after code after code.

    The day started out great. I, an LPN, was relegated to the role of primary nurse this day. I was on a team with two competent RNs. We shared the two shock rooms between us and 8 other rooms within the ED. I scored every IV. During a code STEMI, I got two 18G IVs which really made me happy and hung some heparin while the RNs did their assessment and gave report to the heart hospital next door.

    Around 1400 a GI bleed came in and had an Emergency upper endoscopy performed in shock room 2, thus effectively removing one RN on our team. I'm a bit faster than the remaining RN on the team and managed to pick up 5-6 patients and effectively work on them while any RN I could find would graciously perform a legally binding assessment and/or discharge for me.

    At 1700, shock room 2 is on the 4th unit of PRBCs and we receive a phone call delivering report of an elderly white male suffered from 2 story fall and currently not responsive. CPR in progress. Shock room One is cleared out. My patients are all stable. Myself, the other RN, an ED paramedic, and the charge nurse gather in the shock room to greet our incoming arrival.

    Pt fell from a ladder, crushed the entire back of his skull and was DOA. It wasn't an incredibly long code. The RN from shock room two pokes her head in. Looks around at the mess of a trauma that was shock room one and smugly says, "My patient is still alive" and quickly retreats. Lol. The docs said the recently deceased most likely died immediatley on impact, and judging from the trauma it seemed more than likely.

    At 1815, not too long after we called the code and cleaned up most of the room a stroke comes in via front door. A bad one. In fact, worst one I've seen to date in just over 1 year of ER experience. Extreme left sided weakeness. Pulse is unstable and intermittent seizures are occurring. We move the body from Shock room 1 to room 5. I only manage to get a 22G in the RAC and some quick labs on this new stroke. The charge nurse signs up as primary nurse for this patient while the other RN moves onto discharges and assessments for the remainder of our team in preparation for shift change. Its me and the charge nurse. We roll over to CT. We're thinking a likely hemorragic stroke with herniation based on s/s.

    Just after 1900 after shift change, I volunteer to stay late for a few hours because we have not slowed down. I begin floating and assist with shock room one's intubation. Lo & behold another code stroke is called out in room 15, another room part of my team, just after the intubation. However, an unannounced ambulance pulls into the bay and carries a young female in cardiac arrest / suspected overdose. Sadly, we were so busy the ambulances just found themselves a room and ushered themselves into it. Next thing I hear is an RN yelling, "I need another license in here!!"

    I run into the room and see this nightshift RN doing CPR. I grab the doc and we begin the code. I apply the defib pads and hook her up to the monitor asap. As I put a pad on her back stagnant vomit that had been sitting in the patients throat since she was last intubated by the paramedics spews over my scrub pants. I relieve the RN and begin more compressions. Hard and fast. Got the Beegee's, "stayin' alive" in my head. Then the urine is released and more bodily fluids and functions are released. The doctor, probably severely overwhelmed, calls the code.

    I change my scrubs and no sooner that I walk out of the locker room that a tech grabs me to tell me shock room 1 is awake and fighting her tube. In the commotion of coding room 4 and the new stroke in 15, there had been no sedation for the stroke with herniation. Apparently she was having one of her more lucid moments. I inform the tech to stay with the pt so she doesn't remove her tube. I notify the doctor who tells me to follow sedation protocol. I begrudgingly tell the doc I'm not allowed to perform any kind of conscious sedation under hospital policy, however, I say "I'll try to find an RN." I grab an RN who is rather new to our facility and doesnt have the foggiest idea of what sedation protocol is or where to find it. As we hustle to find more information the ER is in absolute chaos and this particular RN has to get back to his fast track team because he suddenly has 4 discharges up at once. I finally throw my hands up in the air and say "screw it".I end up getting an order for ativan 1mg. I give very good 1mg ativan IVP and faster than I think the ativan even had time to work the pt goes back to being unconscious. sigh.... I pray we get her to ICU before she comes to again.

    so now we've got shock room one fading in an out of conscioussness, GI bleeding in two, stroke in 15, dead body in 4, dead body in 5. family of 5 in 19 and family of 5 in quiet room, and family of 15 in 22. We had to reserve rooms just to keep them open in case we needed another monitored bed. I've just never seen the ER explode like that and so many ppl be so critically ill.... phew.

    Anyways, it was definitely a day I'll remember for quite a while.
    Last edit by libran1984 on Jul 13, '12
  2. Visit libran1984 profile page

    About libran1984

    Joined: Aug '11; Posts: 590; Likes: 686
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 4 year(s) of experience in Emergency Nursing


  3. by   prmenrs
    So, then you went home, tried to tell the family about your "day @ the office", and they ran screaming and/or hurling for the hills!!

    I'm glad you survived and did well--Good Job!!
  4. by   Candyn
    Woah you are amazing. I think I end up having a panic attack and become one of your patients arresting if I have day like that "Knock on woods"
  5. by   RNGriffin
    Well, I am sure your team members are thankful you were around to assist! Great job! Now get some rest for day 2!
  6. by   Bobmo88
    I don't think I've ever had a shift that crazy before but having multiple critical patients is never easy.
  7. by   JeanOfAllTraits
    Very nice Friday the 13th! We had a "code pink" in our normal newborn nursery. I was on our ortho unit (I'm a float nurse) so I don't know what the situation was, but a normal newborn coding is heart breaking no matter what the situation.
  8. by   brainkandy87
    And this is why the ER is so much fun.
  9. by   canoehead
    "MY PATIENT IS STILL ALIVE..." What a comedian.
  10. by   itsnowornever
    WOW...heck of a day. Drooling with jealousy over here. Quick question--what state are you in? In CA LVNs aren't allowed to do invasive procedures (IVs, PB....injections yes, but that's as invasive as it gets) do you have any other certifications to do the IVs? I'm just curious, not knocking you. And as soon as you tell me, I will block it from memory so that I dont mess up on NCLEX. LOL!
  11. by   bjaeram
    Quote from mrssrckh
    Very nice Friday the 13th! We had a "code pink" in our normal newborn nursery. I was on our ortho unit (I'm a float nurse) so I don't know what the situation was, but a normal newborn coding is heart breaking no matter what the situation.
    Code Pink usually means a baby is missing not coding!
  12. by   Esme12
    Quote from bjaeram
    Code Pink usually means a baby is missing not coding!
    At your another? Maybe not.
  13. by   emtb2rn
    Good job. We call that kind of day "Monday".
  14. by   sandiego12
    Libran, Wow, crazy day for sure! LPN's can hang high alert heparin and ivp meds! What state is this in? I would seriously be careful about practicing out of your scope. You don't want to lose your license and if your planning on getting your RN you don't want to do anything to mess that up.