I had a freaky experience at a small rural ED a few years ago. I received a telephone call that my 80 year old father had fallen overboard, was injured and was being treated in a small rural ED. The location was about a 3 hour drive away.
When I arrived, the waiting room was full of family and extended family. A cousin was a floor nurse at the hospital, but when she heard my Dad was in the ED she somehow became his ED nurse. So, it was a bit of a party scene when I arrived and no one seemed to be caring for my father.
So I went in to my Dad’s room in the ED. He was alone, confused, but verbal and had a Bair Hugger on. He was on a heart monitor. He had closed head trauma and heavy bruising to the face, arms and chest. I could hear the large party of waiting room folks yukking it up even louder in the ED waiting room. I was curious about my father’s hypothermia and injuries. A paper medical chart was open near the bedside. I looked at it, but it was just a problem list that included “erectile dysfunction”. More than I wanted to know, but I had only myself to blame.
After a few minutes, a new graduate RN came in and said my father was warm now and would therefore be going home. It seemed quite inappropriate to me. The new grad removed the leads for the heart monitor and pulled on my father’s injured arm to pull him out of bed. My Dad screamed in pain and fell backward lifeless onto the bed. I noticed he was not breathing. The new nurse determined he was pulseless and called the code.
At some point after the code was called, my cousin ran in to the room and saw the chest compressions underway and the ED doc running the code. Her contribution to the situation was to say my father had no advanced directive and did I really want resuscitation efforts to continue. YES! Please continue.
He was successfully resuscitated and transferred to a hospital with a trauma ward. He is fine, but I get so mad every time I think about the abject neglect he received during the family reunion in the waiting room. How does a nurse from the floor self-appoint herself as ED nurse for a family member? Who left his medical history at the bedside?