Monday, December 05, 2005

Level 1Trauma

This weekend I was on cardiac call... I had to be available for any cardiac cases going on over the weekend. This can be a hit or miss call, sometimes you're in the hospital all weekend, sometimes you're at home all weekend. It had been pretty quiet til then... early out(ish) on Friday, nothing on Saturday. Then my pager went off Sunday morning at 4am. nothing good about that. Apparently some sort of penetrating trauma case that required my attention. Well usually level 1 traumas refer to emergent cases, often going straight up the OR once they arrive at the hospital. I was confused. You don't want to wait for me to drive in (newly and still falling snow) to take care of an emergency, the in-house people will take care of it.... No no... they were stable enough to be transferred from another hospital, then stable enough to go to the CT scanner, now stable enough to wait for the cardiac team to come it. Still it's an emergency. "Ok i'm on the way in"

Now I'm always kinda pissed off when I get called in... half the time I get called in for cardiac it's nothing critical (i know that sounds weird) Someone freaking out for no reason. I know it's my job to be available when they call me in, so I don't think i should be angry.... I still am. I figured if that bullet were anywhere important they'd be dead by now. I'm also mad for other people too. I think "Heaven forbid if anyone gets hurt driving in the snow coming into the hospital for this non-emergent 'emergency' "

I slip and slide my way in. I see the cardiac surgeon in the pump room. I say "hi, what's going on?" He says "I don't know... they told me she was dying and to come in, now we're waiting... i don't know what doing..." Great now the cardiac surgeon and I both don't know what's happening. Oh well easy enough to blame the Trauma service.

The patient finally shows up. Very stable. We put some invasive monitors and access into the patient. I don't see much blood in the pericardium (sac around the heart) on echo. There is some though... not much. Surgeon says it probably looked like pericardial fat because it was well-organzied clot. They take a closer look at the heart... this lady's lucky. The bullet went through the pericardium nicked the right side of the heart and kept going. A half-centimeter another direction and that nick would have gone through one of the coronary arteries and the patient would have bled to death or part of the heart would have completely stopped working. Lucky.

I feel bad now that I was angry driving in.


Anonymous said...

Oh, not to feel too bad. It was a nice outcome and you at least didn't get called in until the weekend was over. Thats a good thought. I think you seem to be a pretty caring guy. I am not sure people give anestesiologists enough respect. As far as I am concerned, you control the entire deal in the OR, not the surgeon.
I would like to post this question to you. I have asked Joe, bookofjoe, now I will ask you. Where does one's concsience go when you put someone under? What do you think?

bnug said...

I'm not ingnoring you... this is a complicated metaphyiscal question. i'm working on a worthy response.

Anonymous said...

OK, I will keep checking for your answer.