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Sunday, June 17, 2012

there's a human being under there


We do complicated things in the ER sometimes. One of the things we do is called "therapeutic hypothermia", in which we lower the body temperature after a cardiac arrest to preserve brain function.

The patient is intubated, on a vent. We use paralytics, sedatives to keep them out of it during the process. Usually this involves about 3 infusions just for this part. Most of them have had an MI so there are another couple of infusions. So usually you have 5-6 drips going. They need a foley, an OG.

Then there is the hypothermia process itself, that involves wrapping the patient in pads and hooking the pads up to a machine that circulates water throught the pads to cool the body down. A tube is placed in the esophagus and hooked up to the machine to measure body temp.

Lots of stuff to do, in other words. So, the idea is to get them up to ICU as soon as possible. You have a limited amont of time to accomplish all of it. So you are concentrating on getting it all done.

The point of all this? When you have a patient as complex as this, its easy to forget that there is a patient underneath all of those tubes. A human being. Then the family comes and you are reminded that this is someones loved one.

3 comments:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

All this and more was done for my baby brother last June after his massive MI the day before his 48th birthday. He died anyway after six days in ICU and countless more arrests. I am heartbroken and miss him every day.

Thank you for knowing what to do and being able to save so many whose bodies are not as tired as Tony's was.

girlvet said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure he was a wonderful brother.

Anonymous said...

And this is the perspective I was hoping for in your previous post.