Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Very Bad Things

For many years I worked at a really tiny community hospital. The ER was miniscule, only 6 rooms. We used to say "a river runs through it" because the main corridor bisected the ambulance bay, waiting room and 1/2 of the treatment rooms from the registration desk and the remainder of the patient rooms. Even though it was small, we would still get the occasional "really bad thing" that kept us nurses honest, as well as serious about maintaining and upgrading our skills. In fact, 98 percent of the nurses (12 of us) were CEN's (Certified Emergency Nurse). No small feat I can assure you.

I was thinking that this summer is the 20th anniversary of the murder of a local woman by a man who lived in town. There hadn't been a murder in about 60 years, so violent crime was not a mainstay of this bedroom community. The murderer mutilated and partially ingested parts of the corpse (eww) prior to the arrival of the police, and subsequently complained of chest pain and was brought to our ER. It was a media circus for sure, yet we maintained our professionalism and composure even when the police were bagging the vomit for evidence (double eww). The very evil man went to prison for a few years, and eventually died of cancer.