Change-Up

It’s a busy monday in the emergency room and there’s a steady stream of patients coming through triage, and ambulances arriving in procession. Two ambulances are on their way in- both to be arriving at the same time.

One ambulance is bringing a patient who collapsed in a business, required CPR and is now intubated- I’m thinking this is gonna turn into a code. If I was to guess…I’d say we’d be doing CPR on said patient- upon arrival to the ER.

The other ambulance is bringing a patient complaining of chest pain. Vital signs are normal from what I understand (I never quite got the whole story.)

In come the two ambulances- one guy with a tube down his throat- the other one, sitting up, watching us as we work. I go into the intubated patients room and help get things started- there’s plenty of people in there to receive him and my presence is merely supplemental. I assist where I’m needed and walk out to see how the other patient is faring- and to see how I can help.

Hmm…CPR in progress- that’s a shocker. Apparently- while another tech was setting up for an EKG, the patient slumped and it was determined that he was without a pulse. The scene went crazy with all resources poured into a tiny room. Rounds of CPR and medications are having no affect on this patient- his heart just doesn’t want to beat.

Because of the size of the room, and the position of the crash cart- there’s no real way to make the drama that is unfolding private. Many of the ER patients and visitors are getting as much of a view as they can- as we pump on this guys chest- trying to restore life. In the end, our efforts are unsuccessful and the patient passes away.

How bizarre- two patients are brought in, an hour later- the one who appeared stable is dead- the one who appeared on the brink of death is showing signs of improvement. It’s strange to me that the patient could hang on to life and then nearly immediately after arriving in the ER, drop dead. You really never know what to expect. It helps me put things in perspective. Nothing is guaranteed in this life. I’m grateful for every moment.

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