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17 July 2009

Traumarama Thursday Night

So I started my first night of three at the County last night, and from the onset to the end of my 12 hour shift, it was one trauma after another. Actually, one trauma with another because they seemed to come in pairs. Now, I love traumas, don't get me wrong, it's just that sometimes having to work with different departments, ie. surgery, can be very frustrating. Especially when you come from different systems where departments actually get along and run real trauma codes, ie. U of Minn.

This is so not U of Minn.

Anyway, here is how my night went...
1900 get sign out from the day team. I pick up nine patients that are left over. Three are already admitted, and the rest are waiting for consults, lab results, etc. Sign out takes about 15 - 20 minutes, and about the time we are done and everyone is leaving, I get word from the charge nurse that Mercy Flight is en route with an MVC (motor vehicle collision). I sigh because I am working with a rotator (an internal medicine resident) and a medical student.

This means that my night is going to be twice as busy since, as a rule, the off-service rotators don't have the same, um, sense of urgency that we, Emergency medicine residents, do. And, there's a great quote passed along the medical tradition that says something to the effect of, "give me a medical student that will only double my work and I will jump for joy." I also had a physician's assistant and one of the new interns, so there was going to be enough fun for everyone.

So about 1930, Mercy Flight brings in SUV versus semi. The semi won. However, you have to admire the semi driver who saw the SUV about to hit him, watched the impact, then jumped out of their cab to help the person get out of their car. Luckily, no major injuries, and the driver of the SUV stayed overnight for observation.

About the time that I finished this evaluation, EMT's arrive with Gear Wheel Flew into Face. The eye is involved, so GWFiF goes into a room and I get ophthalmology and ENT involved because there is going to be some serious damage, and a lot of fine sewing involved.

I work on one or two of my sign-out patients, deal with a surly (I would use harsher language, but I don't have the parental control warning on this blog) surgical chief who will be the bane of my existence for the rest of the night, give someone procedural sedation for a dislocated shoulder, and start to write up the trauma patient when I get word from the charge nurse that an ambulance is en route with a partial amputation and low blood pressure.

I get to the trauma room, and we get Motorcycle versus car. The patient's lower leg is hanging on by a few tissues, and we make plans for the patient to go to the O.R.; of course, after a couple of units of blood and stabililization. I am just putting up the orders from this patient when a patient I had heard about earlier, Bike versus Tree, rolls in the door. They were transferred from another hospital when the patient started dropping their blood pressure and complaining of chest pain. We get them into another trauma room (we have four) and start their work up.

By now it's about midnight. Somehow I have managed to dispo (disposition meaning getting someone admitted or discharged) my signout patients and I pick up a non-trauma MVC. I get them pain meds, order spine films, and go talk to an alcoholic who just got out of rehab two weeks ago and started drinking the day they got out. I explain that there is no room in our rehab program and tell them to go back to their initial contact. I always write on the disharge instructions, "only use alcohol in moderation." While I can write "stop smoking" I am not allowed to tell someone to stop using drugs or stop drinking. Fancy that. Drug abusers get, "only use medications or narcotics as prescribed by a physician."

I stop in the middle of things to help out the intern with an assault victim that is bleeding profusely from their head. After finally getting his pain under control long enough for him to allow us to start to work on his head, I walk the intern through stopping bleeders with a figure 8 stitch and then get them started on a double layer closure. I leave them to finish the suturing and close the skin with staples. Now, where was that chart I put down...?

My BVT goes for further evaluation by the cardiologists for a possible heart injury (after I had to intubate them for dropping oxygenation saturations) which clears the back room just in time for Struck by Car While Getting Beer at the Corner Market. The patient was clipped by the mirror of the car, fell to the ground, and didn't break the 40 they were carrying. We start the work-up, but the patient will most likely be sleeping it off in a room until they are sober enough to be released.

It's about 0330 and one of the ER techs runs downstairs and gets me a coffee. I take a sip or two and then go to the trauma room for T Boned While Leaving Sleepover. The trauma team is activated yet again, and I am handing in orders for this patient when Lost Control of Motorcycle rolls in. We meet this person and see two obvious leg fractures. They will end up having about 3 other fractures which are found during the course of the work-up.

I sit to write my notes. It's getting close to 0600, and I pick up some more patients as the medical student and the rotator seem to be satisfied with managing their one patient for the final hour (did that sound catty?). I get "went to concert and got kicked in the head." I give them something for their headache and order a CT scan. (
Excuse me while I clean my name badge. There seems to be some blood on it. I wonder from whom?) Then I get "my gout is acting up" which I give pain meds to, write a script and their discharge paperwork. At 15 minutes to 0700, I go and see "Chest Pain since Yesterday," and I put in their orders to get them started for the next resident.

I sign out 4 of my patients from the overnight, and I discharge T Boned because they had been cleared by surgery. I head to my car and drink the last of my now-cold coffee and head off to sleep. Another shift begins tonight. I can't wait!

1 comment:

a corgi said...

that's interesting the comments you can write for stopping smoking, but what you can't write for drinking/drug use

I bet it keeps your job somewhat interesting; you just never know what is going to walk in through the door at any hour of your shift and what you will need to do; keeps it exciting but challenging at the same time

betty