I’m Not Dying Today

It 3am and thankfully its only a few hours till the shift is done but as I hand the discharge  papers to my last patient I get a page overhead, “Curtis to Room 3 stat, Curtis to Room 3 stat. I’m like what, I don’t have any patients in Room 3. Well this cannot be good, I have him sign and take the guys IV out and hope he finds his own way out. I was going to run but in this business haste makes waste and you are more likely to fall and hurt yourself trying to run which doesn’t help the patient at all.

As I do a brisk walk down to room 3 and as I’m reaching in they just now rolling in a guy slumped over in a wheelchair with his friend behind him. I look down and there is a trail of blood. “Well, what happen,” I ask him as I help pick him up from the wheelchair and get him into the bed. “I don’t know man, everything was good and the next thing I know is I got shot. Can y’all fix me?”

“We will try sir, we will try,” I tell him. “Man y’all have to fix me. I’m not dying today.” I look him over as I’m talking he has what appears to be 2 entry wounds to the chest and another to the left wrist. As I continue my survey I check on the progress of the 2 nurses helping me and they are just fumbling around not doing much. One is doing a decent job of cutting his clothes off and the other is messing around with cords not really getting anything done. I could have cussed. Not a great night to have them with me, neither has done trauma before. I finish my assessment and he has another gunshot wound (GSW) to the left upper arm as well.

Nothing is bleeding to badly externally so I take the cords from one nurse and have her go get more supplies instead and the other nurse finishes cutting his clothes off and starts working on an IV site. The doctor starts barking orders for meds so I go and grab those. When I get back the nurse has one IV in and but the doctors fussing a the other nurse. Apparently the nurse I sent to get supplies came back and tried to help but she put an IV in the arm with the with 2 GSWs in it. All I can do is shake my head. Some mistakes you shouldn’t be that clueless to make.

So I yank that IV out and work on some like calling for blood and etc. I get the blood and the nurse still has not gotten the other IV in so I kick her out the way and get another 18g in his other arm and have her set up the blood. The doctor ask for a rapid infuser but of course the hospital is too cheap to have more than one and the one we do have is locked up in the OR. I run over and of course my badge does not work and I try everyone’s badges and non of them work so I call the supervisor to come get it.

I go back to the ER and the doctor ask me to grab the blood warmer. I got it and to be honest I totally screwed this up. I primed it and tried to put in it in and it would not fit. I tried over and over still not happening and then I got the bright idea of reading the box. It said right there on the box do not prime before putting it in. Well that slowed things down a bit and I hate when I mess up so I was frustrated at myself and it still irritates me now that I did that.

The guy remain pretty stable and we got several bags of blood in him and fluids before the helicopter flight team arrived to pick him up. His vitals stayed pretty stable and but he fell unconscious and we had to intubate him towards the end of getting him ready for the flight team. He made it though the night but unfortunately died the next day. Life is short treasure every moment and make the best use of your time.


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