I wouldn’t say that there are easy days in the ER, but some days are a whole lot tougher then others, and some will stay in your mind forever.
New Years Eve was one of those days, and I even worked the day shift, I wasn’t there for the drama and drunkenness of the night. But it was tough conversation “so sir, given your age and what we’ve finding, I have a very high suspicion that you might have a cancer somewhere” after tough conversation “I don’t know exactly what is going on, but instead of getting better you are getting worse and we need to admit you to the hospital for further evaluation” after tough conversation “Sir, I think you’ve had a stroke” all morning long. And then as one of the EMS crews brought yet another patient into our already bursting Emergency Department, one of the crew members pulled our charge nurse aside and said “I heard on the radio a crew get called to an infant CPR”.
Those are the words that no one ever wants to hear, and the patients that no one ever wants to have to take care of. And yet they were less than 5 minutes out.
I think my heart always stops when I hear those words.
My paramedic arrived crying while doing CPR, the firemen all looked sober as they helped wheel the cart in, the police officer was wiping his eyes.
After a deep breath and with a shaky voice I started calling out orders and we did all we could do. She was beautiful, but nothing that we did could get her heart beating again or her lungs breathing again.
I cried as I talked with mom and dad and brought them to her bedside so they could hold her hands during the last few moments.
After attempting to comfort the family I called my staff together, I called the EMS crew and fire crew back to the ED and pulled everyone aside in one of the few unoccupied rooms. The busy ED went on without all of us for a few minutes while we sorted through our thoughts and questions and dried our eyes. I know that especially as Emergency Providers we do a terrible job of caring for ourselves and we all needed those moments to do just that.
There are things in life that don’t make sense. There are things in life that make me mad and I don’t understand why they had to end that way. I know that God is bigger then all of this and He sees far more then I ever will. But sometimes in my limited vision and scope I don’t agree with how things are. And that’s OK, He’s big enough for my doubts and questions and frustrations.