Monday, August 13, 2012

A night in the ER - 8/9/12

Our first overnight in the ER was eventful and a success. Right away we began helping patients that have yet to be seen. Some of them had been waiting for two hours or longer. If it wasn’t for us students taking the initiative to check up on the patients who knows how much longer the patients would have been waiting around to be seen. The doctors and nurses would just sit at the nurse’s station and chat rather than help a patient; I mean we are in the ER! Obviously the patients need urgent care, but yet they sit there and wait and wait. So, the overnight crew consisted of Allison, Chris, Joel, Lee, Trey, and me. As we begin to make our rounds in the ER, we start talking to the patients about what the problem is and then we referred to Dr. Abdulhussein on how to handle the situation. Our first patient seemed to be very lethargic and unresponsive. Our team drew up a blood sample that was sent to the lab to test for hemoglobin and blood glucose. Her results came back normal and so then we hooked up an IV to push fluids in her. I swear by the end of the night I became a professional at setting up IV bags. I think I put together about six IV bags of saline. The next patient who had been waiting around for two and a half hours had some type of severe vaginal bleed that had lasted for more than five days. So with so much blood loss, a blood transfusion was ordered for the patient, which didn’t arrive until almost an hour or more surpassed. One thing to note is the hospital staff work at a sluggish pace, thus why we see so many of the patients suffer in agony for a long period of time. Last night we were attending to one patient after the other as fast as we could. As the ER began to die down around 3am and ready to leave, a patient comes in that was mugged and stabbed multiple times, mainly on his head and hands. Right away when he walked in, we laid him on a bed to start cleaning him up and hurried to get an IV started in him as well as get blood drawn. Because the patient had lost so much blood, it was very hard to find a vein because of vasoconstriction. Each of us had a job responsibility from trying to get an IV started, cleaning his wounds, injecting pain medication, and doing whatever else was needed. It took almost a half hour of trying, but eventually it worked out. After getting a couple IV bags of saline ran through him, we cleaned up his wounds and put a dressing around his head until it was time for him to get an x-ray. We were with him for about three hours. After an exhausting night in the ER, we felt we did the best that we could and made sure the patients were seen by a doctor.

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