Our departments medical emergency team (MET) consists of a senior doctor and nurse who respond to medical emergencies occurring throughout the hospital. We actually call them the MET team, which is kinda like saying: ATM machine. But just saying the ME-team sounds, well …a little un-teamly.
When their pager goes off they respond by pushing this rather eclectic trolley bristling with advance life support equipment to the scene of the emergency.
But its not like on TV.
We don’t take off running down the corridor with the doctors coat flapping behind him like a Batman cape.
We walk to our emergencies. Its safer that way.
When I was young and stupid. I did run to emergencies.
We didn’t have such a large crash-cart back then. In one hand you picked up a fishing tackle box full of emergency drugs and cannulation equipment, with the other you grabbed the defibrillator (which was pretty heavy let me tell you) and off you sprinted.
One night I was running to a code, full tilt down a long underground corridor that leads from one of our hospital buildings to another.
As my arm carrying the heavy defibrillator swung past my hip it knocked the pager from my waist. The pager bounced off my knee and fell to the ground breaking open. The very next instant… I trod on it.
For some reason known only to Motorola, its old pagers were packed with a hundred little small ball bearing electronic springy thingies, and I skidded along on one leg for several meters on the now disintegrating pager, arms flapping out to the sides.
One of the paddles of the defibrillator came loose wrapping around my flailing legs.
I landed heavily on my back.
Once I collected myself and sat up on my elbows, I could see that I had broken the pager, broken the defibrillator and broken the world record for the slowest response to a medical emergency.
Another time, one of my colleagues was on the MET team that responded to a man who had jumped through a large window on the ninth floor of the hospitals main building. He landed on the roof directly above the hospital main entrance.
Initially the code was called to the ninth floor (go figure), and our intrepid team, thinking it would be far quicker than waiting for our glacial lifts to arrive, humped up the stairs (right past the crumpled roof), arriving totally exhausted only to find their patient was back down where they had started.
To get to him Chris and the doc had to break another thick window on the first floor and clamber out onto the roof. They were totally exhausted by this point. And they fully expected the man to be dead. The roof had partially collapsed under his impact leaving him laying at the bottom of this human shaped crater. His arms and legs hanging out over the lip.
Somehow, the crumpling of the roof must of cushioned his fall, for as they climbed out to him he lifted one arm triumphantly to the heavens and proclaimed, “I know I just jumped 9 floors…but, I think I feel OK.”
Crap. Now what do we do?
Chris was checking the poor guy over and figuring out how the heck they were going attend to the delicate task of extracting him off the roof whilst maintaining spinal precautions, when an enormous jagged section of glass from the window way up on the ninth floor sliced down like a guillotine just centimeters from where they were crouched.
Chris and the doc looked at each other, and without a further word of discussion, they dragged the protesting man unceremoniously by one arm and one leg, out of his crater, across the roof and back through the window.
And then of course there was the time I ran to a code way, way, way over at the other end of the hospital. I was a young nurse back then and I thought I looked pretty cool yelling at little old ladies on their hopper frames to stand clear as I sprinted past. Yes, this is what being an ED nurse is all about. Stand clear people!
By the time I got there, I was so utterly shagged-out I could do little to help.
So instead, I vomited into the physiotherapy pool.
Nope, you don’t see that on TV.