Tuesday, 6 October 2009

A Begging Letter to A&E Staff


Dear A&E Nurses and Doctors,
*****
We have a patient in cardiac arrest.
We have been resuscitating for the past 45 minutes.
We cannulated whilst the patient was collapsed in the toilet, or lying stuck behind the door.
We intubated under a table, in a car, or in the pouring rain at the track-side.
We have distressed members of the family following our every move, shrieking in grief.
We carried the patient in a mess of arms and legs down 3 flights of stairs.
We carried out CPR continuously in nooks, crannies, and at 60 miles per hour down the winding road.
Now we've arrived at your hospital.
Exhausted, sweaty, flustered, sometimes hopeful, sometimes not.
For us, the resus is nearly over.

*****
In the meantime,
You've been told of our imminent arrival.
You've been told that the patient is in cardiac arrest.
You're prepared with all your kit; aprons and gloves donned and at the ready.
You meet us at the entrance to the resus room and direct us to the trolley bed.
You've got the patient 4 foot high, horizontal, in the relative calm of the hospital surrounding. You've got the family safely in the relatives' room.
For you, the resus is only starting.

*****
I know you're also constantly busy.
I know you too haven't much of a break.
But I'm also fairly certain that you haven't been doing a resus for the best part of the last hour, sometimes in the most appalling conditions.
So I ask you, please.
Please don't expect me, after nearly an hour of CPR, to keep going, while you stand by and watch.
Please give me a chance to get my breath back.
Please take over the resus. Please take over the CPR.

*****
Thank you.

2 comments:

GrumpyRN said...

We have arrest calls where the travel time to hospital is over 1 hour. We always try to think of the poor person in the back doing compressions, bagging, giving drugs for that length of time. Hopefully we will always take over from you. It must be soul destroying for the crews to charge in after long down times and we do 1 cycle of CPR and call it without even breaking sweat. You are right, you should not need to say you need someone to take over - tell them.

Tom said...

GrumpyRN has it to a tee.

On one occasion I called a priority only to discover we had no comms. Knackered, we turned up at A&E, and they switched into hyperdrive.

Relief.

You should have heard the call to the control room. I believe now it would be used for training purposes.