So, I am getting very close to the end of my orientation- 1 more day before they cut me loose on my own. My orientation has been fantastic, I have had lots of interesting and varied diagnoses to take care of in the unit (we are Level III, ECMO capable, cardiac surgery, etc.). However, the one thing my preceptor has kept saying she would like me to see before I'm on my own was a code. Thank goodness, we rarely (if ever) code outside of the delivery room, so it was looking like that wasn't going to be possible.... until today.
I was just finishing up with assessing, feeding etc. my second baby when my preceptor grabbed me and asked if I wanted to assist a neo with a chest tube insertion for a pneumo. Since I am always looking to get involved, I of course said yes. I was sterilely gloved and assisting with the insertion, which seemed pretty routine, right up until the kid started bleeding around the insertion site. I don't mean a little blood. I mean, blood on me, on the bed, on the neo, everywhere. Immediately our heart rate tanked and the (non-intubated) baby's sats dropped, even with blowby. The neo looks up at me and very very calmly says, "I think we nicked the pericardium. We are going to call a code now." Just like that. No drama, no fireworks, just people jumping into what looked like a finely tuned dance. I was still holding on to the sterile end of the chest tube for dear life, hoping the guidewire wouldn't slide in further and make things worse. We quickly got the chest tube secured and hooked up, and it began draining a ton of blood.
By this time, the heart rate was in the 40s, and the neo pointed at me and said, "Please do compressions." My head was screaming, I don't know how to do this!!!- but then it was like my body took over. NRP must have sunk in somewhere, because the next thing I knew I was compressing and counting, somone else bagging. The baby was intubated, epi and a bolus were given, x-rays and an echo done, blood ordered, and all the while we're just counting and compressing and bagging along... And then the coolest thing happened... The heart rate came up! Sats were in the 80s! Wait... did we just save the kid?!?!
It was the neatest thing ever... I mean, no neat in a good way, but neat in the way nurses think wounds and gross injuries, etc are cool. I guess I was most impressed with the way everyone just knew what to do, and did it. It was so calm, no yelling, no panic. When it was over, though, I definitely had to SIT DOWN! It took me a good 30 minutes to quit shaking and get over the adrenaline rush, and all day long the other nurses kept coming by my corner to check on the "poor new orientee who coded the baby," LOL. I just wanted to share... it was definitely an experience that I will never forget!!
P.S. The last echo, right before I left, showed that the blood in the pericardial sac had been reabsorbed. The baby was very stable on the vent, and the chest tube was no longer draining blood. Yea!