Saturday, September 10, 2011

When I interviewed, I said that I had probably seen or experienced, every possible Heart-cath disaster/dilemma that one could imagine. Although some of those events were truly scary, they were all learning experiences. I've just returned from my 7th day of new job, and here was the dreaded retro-peritoneal bleed crisis. Sure that happens now and then, but 'tis all the more dreadful when the patient is completely disoriented, suffering from severe dementia and fighting like a trapped wild animal.

Just another terrifying, true story.

Shouldn't Be Done

It wasn't criminal or negligent
But it shouldn't have been done,
Although diagnostically wonderful
Heart-caths aren't for everyone.

Fairly youngish, only sixty
But fate had struck her, many blows,
A brain tumor and severe dementia
There is nothing that she knows.

Pre-cath she wandered frequently
Amidst our busy staging scene,
Frequent searches, where did she go?
She was the rambling queen.

After her cath and clean coronaries
It was our job to pull sheaths fast,
With the application of heavy pressure
On her groin, like a bomb-blast,
She started screaming and writhing
Fighting, kicking and trying to sit,
I'm telling you, it wasn't pretty
And all hell broke loose, I admit.

Two nurses pinning her down
One giving drugs to relax,
Blood pressure dropping to sixty
Pale and diaphoretic, those are the facts,
I saw the hallmarks of bleeding
Internally, that was my thinking,
Because I've taken this boat down the river
And I know the signs when they're sinking.

IV fluids wide open for volume
A little drug to quiet this poor lady,
Tachycardia was soon our companion
Her skin was so pale and too shady,
A Rapid Response was called overhead
What the heck, have some friends drop in too,
Get a couple of other, hot opinions
We better do something, before she's blue.

An emergency call to the Cath-Lab
Where her doctor is working on some other guy,
Ya, sure, take her down for a CAT-scan
That sounds like a good thing to try,
With the nurses running out the door
Racing that gurney down the hall,
Sure enough, she was sure bleeding
She won the ICU bed after all.

It wasn't criminal or negligent
But it shouldn't have been done,
Heart-caths are clearly, quite dangerous
Not frivolous exercises for fun.


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