Thursday, December 1, 2011
Night of the living dead. Or, more accurately, night of the dead. Sorry this rotation is such a downer. Rapid response after rapid response. It's not until you run five codes in an eighteen-hour span that you realize, hey, these don't work all that often. If you're dead, unfortunately, you're probably going to stay that way. Realize that sounds glib. Don't mean it to. These were fortunately all end-stage patients, no brain activity, not people who anyone was expecting to be leaving the hospital. Doesn't make it better, but it does make it a little less tragic. 32 people in the room at one point, with me leading the code. I don't know what to tell 32 people to do. I barely know what to do myself. More than anything in residency, this was actually how it looks on TV. This was an episode of ER. A terrible episode of ER where no one lives and there really aren't any good guest star roles to cast at all. I'm screaming out orders, just trying to be heard over the commotion, people are grabbing drugs, people are doing chest compressions, it is chaos, it is intense, it is overwhelming. And it was dinner time-- three in a row, right at 6:00, we were running codes solid from 6 until after 9, so everyone was cranky, tired, had to go to the bathroom, hungry, everything. Unsustainable. If this rotation were longer than a month, unsustainable. I don't know how someone can be an overnight attending, a hospitalist, these jobs must be unfillable, I just don't know who could ever choose to do this. I want 15-minute blocks to my day, I don't want to carry five pagers, I don't want rapid responses. I want medication refill conversations. I know, I say that now, and then once I'm doing it, it'll be dull and horrible. But at least I won't be pronouncing people dead. Couldn't even read the clock by the end, just tired. Staring at it. Like, 7... 8... I don't even know. Why don't we have digital clocks in the hospital? We have all of this complicated equipment, and we can't have digital clocks?
Posted by Anon MD at 8:40 PM