Names have been changed to protect the identity. The mental images that come to your head may be graphic. Reader discretion advised.
Sundays I volunteer in the ER. This sunday started out very typical, I was stocking the carts. Unfortunately most of it was done already. I found things to do, like clean the supply closet. Which is really frustrating because its probably is just as unorganized by now and my 4 hour shift ended 40 minutes ago.
Now to the juicy stuff. As I was doing my "rounds," asking patients if they wanted anything, like something to drink, a blanket, or food. I saw some one being wheeled into the star room. (the star room is the where the life and death situations occur) One of the perks of volunteering is to see these situations. I hesitated entering for a bit, but went for it.
I entered and just listened and watched the medical staff do there thing. It was amazing! There were 3 doctors, 4 nurses, an EMT and me. Yes me. I got to help a little. My role will be explained later in this episode. It was just like when you watch the real ER show. Doctors and nurses barking out stats and orders.
Paul, the patient, had been intentionally hit by a car. The incident was gang related and Paul waited 2 hours to come into the ER. Paul was intoxicated as well. When he entered the Star room he was not talking or responding to anyone. As time went on he started to respond randomly to the doctors and nurses. They were extremely concerned about an head injury.
Paul was not staying still. This is where I came in. A nurse asked me to get 3 inch tape. I brought it over and taped Paul's head down. The attending speaks and starts to give orders. He wants xrays and ct. A doctor was already doing an ultra sound.
The ultra sound looked good on the right side but on the left side the doctor could not make out anything. Paul really need to get more precise imaging. The xray technician came in and performed a few xrays and confirmed broken ribs.
It was time to go to CAT scan. My help was asked of again. I helped get him prepped to make the journey. When we arrived at CAT scan I help move him from the bed to the machine. As he was receiving the CAT scans I watched the screen. In the room with me was two nurses (Casandra and Sally), an EMT (Chris), a radiology tech (Seinna) and the Attending (Dr. Wellington). As we were waiting for the CAT scan I got the courage to talk to Dr. Wellington, the attending. It was amazing it wasn't a great conversation, just getting to know him a little.
When the imaging was available every eye was watching to see the damage. I saw that his heart was working in overtime. I wasn't surprised because he was having a hard time breathing. I saw some broken ribs. Then I saw his abdomen. Wow his right side was all messed up. His right kidney was in the middle of his abdomen. It was hard to see a lot of the right side. It was probably bleeding making hard to see.
Once he was done with CAT scan I helped transfer him from the CAT scan machine to the gurney. We took him back to the ER where another doctor gave him an exam.
Unfortunately that is where my story ends. I had to leave to get home for dinner. I'm sure they took him to surgery shortly after I left. I probably won't know how it ended for Paul, but I was glad I was there to observe and to help.
This experience just solidifies my resolve to become a doctor. Helping out in the ER has made really think about becoming an ER doctor. I feel more at home. I have always know I think clearly in intense situations. So I think that my second home my become an ER somewhere in America.