Saturday, November 1, 2008

CPR fun

This story just goes to illustrate the twisted sense of humor ER nurses and Medics develop. When you do this job day in and day out, dealing with people's lives day after day; you find you either have to laugh or cry. Most of us choose to laugh, not at the patients; but as a way to cope with what we see everyday.

Today, had a very septic patient come in. Initially somewhat responsive, verbalized a few words. We RSI her, intubate, and start the septic workup; central line (her veins were horrible), foley, EKG, labs, pressors, fluids, antibiotics, NG tube; etc and etc. While the doctor was using the ultrasound to find the femoral vein for the central line (horrible veins!), she lost her pulse. We initiated CPR, and ACLS, and etc and etc. We ended up coding her for an hour and a half before her family said "enough" and we finally let her die.

During that hour and a half of CPR, we got bored with just compressing and started trying to outdo each other with the quality of our compressions. We do not have capnography in our ER, so we were going by pulse and BP. This was a little old lady, and amazingly we were able to measure a BP during compressions. So, what do the bunch of twisted ER nurses and medics do? We started a competition to see who could perform the most effective CPR.

I am proud to say that I won. I was able to compress effectively enough to generate a radial pulse and a BP of 175/106. I was pretty impressed with myself! In the hospital, I don't generally do compressions since we are so short staffed. Most times, I am running around defibrillating, medicating, etc; while the techs do their awesome work and do the CPR. Today, we actually had some free nurses and not many techs. So, we all stepped up to the plate and did our turn. I am pleased to report that I can still perform effective CPR without tiring too much.

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