Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Help me. Please.

I love the front desk clerks.  They are really good about alerting the triage nurse about which patients have checked in with chest pain, shortness of breath, or who "just don't look good".  They are also really good at pegging the drama queens such a those who drape themselves over the desk panting and moaning.   The clerks have a supply of surgical masks to offer the rudely coughing public as well as Lysol wipes.  I don't really blame them for wanting these patients out of their work area expeditiously.  I don't want them in my work area, either.

They are also really good at deflecting the Perpetual Complainers.  I never mind when they tell people "I'll have the nurse speak to you".  But mostly they can handle things quite well.

They see all, and know many of the repeat offenders who cause problems.  They quietly alert our Security team that they may want to "stand by", just to have a presence.  Or the police.

But once in awhile someone is manning the desk who has little experience or is just a tad clueless.  Or both.

Eva.  Sigh.

Eva will interrupt ongoing triage assessments, EKG's and private conversations for anything, no matter how mundane.  Chest pain?  Yes, interrupt me.  Shortness of breath?  Absolutely interrupt me.  Can I get a blanket/water/cab voucher for the lady in the wheelchair?  Hell no.  Not now, dear.

The other day Eva froze solid when I asked her to call a help alert and security for a patient who was "unconscious and not breathing" in a car.  "And call out back for some Narcan", I called as I went out to save another life.

Help didn't come for a couple of minutes.  Waiting.  No help alert.  Just me and the cyanotic  unresponsive patient and the female in the back seat who was helpfully filming the entire experience on her cell phone. As I held open his airway the driver of the car, who claimed he just found him unresponsive and didn't know him, helpfully urged me to "just get him out of the damned car, bitch!"  Security was busy putting yet another out of control, dangerous psychotic patient in four-point restraints.  "Narcan!" I hollered to my co-worker who was pushing a stretcher up the incline.    I recognized the patient from a previous appointment with death 3 days before, also miraculously saved by interventional Narcan.

Eva and I had a little discussion about what was meant by a help alert, and NARCAN.

"I just thought you meant I should call back and get you some help. I didn't know I was supposed to tell them someone had stopped breathing.  And I asked for someone named something-Ann, but. They didn't know what I was talking about because Ann doesn't come in til later".

Sigh.  On the plus side the patient lived, his Appointment with the Reaper postponed. For now.