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Only Voices

“Trauma team STAT to emergency.  Trauma team STAT to emergency”

“What are we getting?”

“I’m not sure – I can hear the helicopter landing, though.”

“Watch out, a lot of people are going to be coming in here now.”

“Who are you, Ortho? What’s your name?”

“I’m Gen Surg.”

“GCS 13 on scene. Last update was 7 and intubated”

“Security said they’re doing CPR on the heli-pad.”

“OKAY – THEY’RE COMING.”

“65 year old female, unrestrained passenger, T-bone MVC at highway speed”

“Mover her up first. On three.”

“One… Two… Three…”

“Don’t put the pads on yet, Gen surg has to decompress the chest.”

“No Blood.”

“Pulse Check”

“No Pulse”

“Resuming compressions”

“Have you put in a chest tube before?”

“Not on a real person.”

“Ok.  I’ll do this side.  You do that side.”

“I’m splashing betadine here, watch out.”

“I can’t get the sheath off the blade.”

“I’m in.  No Blood”

“Switch”

“I’m in too.  No blood”

“Pulse Check”

“No Pulse”

“Resuming Compressions”

“When was the last dose of epi?”

“Not since the helicopter.  Give another dose now.”

“Starting another a line.”

“I need a suture, now.”

“Blood is here, should we hang it?”

“I’m ready for the ultrasound.”

“I can’t see the heart.  The ribs are broken in the way.”

“Her abdomen is distended.”

“No cardiac activity.”

“Left pupil fixed and dilated. Right, non-reactive”

“Her husband’s here, in the quiet room”

“I think we should stop.”

“Does anyone think there is anything else we should do?”

“Pulse check.”

“No pulse.”

“Resume compressions?”

“No.”

“Time of death, 17:22.”

“Thank-you everyone.”

8 thoughts on “Only Voices

    1. I was trying to think of a way to convey the “feelings” that go along with this kind of experience and weiting about it narratively just felt “off.” I hope they were chills of “accuracy” …

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Like everything else in medicine, you “learn” how to deal – in some ways it gets easier, but then it also get’s harder when you realize that every time you walk away from this kind of situation, you feel more and more detached. For about an hour after this, I had a horrible, splitting headache – so maybe just “dealing” in a different way.

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    1. Yes… Intense is a good word for it. As bad as it may sound though, it’s amazing to know how well we all worked to get “stuff” done. And at the end it was hard to believe that so much time had passed – it was like 30 minutes just disappeared from the day.

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      1. Those situations you described are exactly what I feared most during my training. As exciting as it was to watch on an episode of ER back in the 90s, I knew early on in my training that that kind of high intensity was not meant for me. I applaud all of our ER/trauma physicians for what they do every day.

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