Tuesday, January 29, 2008


"Staff Stat to OR Z"

Hmm.... not good. usually.

This is an alarm system we have so if there's anesthesia emergency and the staff is not in the room, the resident or a nurse can call overhead on the speakers and everyone available can come to the room to help whomever is in there.

Sometimes it's only a false alarm, the patient's oxygen level is reading a little low and the resident gets a little worried.

Sometimes it's much worse.

"Staff stat to OR Z"

I shuffle quickly over there.

I walk in, they are doing chest compressions. Apparently the patient "crashed" about 10 minutes after the start of the case.... low blood pressure of uncertain origin, didn't improve with treatment at all so they started CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Rescusitation). Emergency drugs were given.... epinephrine, atropine, all the good stuff.

After about 15 more minutes after I arrived, they called it, meaning they pronounced the patient dead, all attempts unsuccessful to resuscitate failed. The anesthesia staff in charge of the case don't know what the issue was... the patient was "relatively" healthy. Definitely will need an autopsy to see if anything obvious shows up.

Anyway, we all shuffle out, mostly feeling defeated a little.

Ten minutes later,

"Staff stat to OR 10"

Weren't we just in there?

I head back over there. They're doing chest compressions again.... apparently they were cleaning up the room and filling out the death packet and they saw some rhythm on the monitor so they felt they should give it another shot. Although in the meantime, they hadn't been ventilating the patient or watching the patient since she were pronounced dead. (why would they?)

We persisted a few minutes and then we all decided that it was probably futile... some sort of agonal near death heart reflex (which often happens).

We all left the room again... though not before I disconnected the monitor.

Sadly we can't win them all.

1 comment:

pete said...

hey i just came across your blog. i'm a med student thinking about going into anesthesia!

it's absolutely great - i read all your entries in a night.

keep it up, if you have the time!!!