Monday, May 25, 2009

Priority 4

When the call comes in for a cardiac arrest, everyone gets a little fidgety. When the paramedics continue and say, "but we're requesting permission to make the victim a priority 4 due to asystole on arrival with an overwhelming lack of signs of life," the atmosphere changes from we-can-save-them to one of eh-just-a-fatality-too-bad. Usually the priority 4 patients are the little old nursing home patients who just need to be let go from this world. Those people we are relieved to see go, instead of prolonging their stay with brute force.

But when the request for a priority 4 is for a 20 year old pedestrian struck by an SUV, no one is relieved about anything.

Being the clinically curious people we are, everyone goes in to look at his awkwardly broken neck, the grossly deformed lower leg fractures, and the concave skull.

Being the emotional humans we are, everyone tears up when the parents come in to find their promising young son dead on the gurney.

We can be clinically dispassionate when looking at injuries, but to see the impact that one impulsive decision will have on this family for the rest of their life...that is something that no one can be dispassionate about.

3 comments:

Love or Nothing said...

oh girl. your job is crazy and i can't believe you do what you do.. i love you a lot & miss you roommate.

Kaley said...

Well that blows.

I'm sorry that happens. :(

That sounded apathetic, but it's not. I just think it's awful.

Joy said...

That breaks my heart! Probably because I'm a mother myself. I couldn't imagine walking into a hospital to identify one of my babies.

My mom was an RN and cried many nights (she worked on neurology so quite a few patients ended up dying). Nurses a angels on earth, seriously.