We have this classmate. Since her last name is McDaniel and mine is Montgomery ,we are ofter placed in the same group. In every class someone has to be first and someone has to be last. Kate, our other friend Amanda, and I are first. As of now, all three of us are straight A students; McDaniel is…. NOT.
On clinical days, we have to be at the hospital at the ungodly hour of 06:30, and student parking is like a mile away from the actual clinical site so we have to arrive by 6:15 to be on time. I live about an hour away from the clinical hospital so I have to leave my house at like 5am. See? Ungodly. Anyway… I digress…
I’ve gone out with one of the hospital RTs a few time. His name is Jeremy, and he’s one of the ‘lead’ RTs… Not exactly a manager, but not a floor staff RT either. I haven’t told Kate or anyone really. Anyway, we’re gone out a few times, and last night was one of those times. Jeremy let me stay at his place last night since he lives so close to the hospital. There is a point to this, I promise.
Jeremy and I get to the hospital about 6:15. Since I’m early, I go to the unit I know I’ll be on. I strike up a conversation with the night shift therapist since she isn’t busy. You know the usual, how was your night? Anything significant happen? Which patient would be a good one for me, as a student, to work with?
I get the details and meet up with the rest of the class. McDaniel and Montgomery are once again ‘partners’ and assigned to the Cardiac ICU. I choose the two that was suggested to me and McDaniel gets one vent patient and one recently extubated patient.
After sfhit report, I go about assessing my assigned patients. About 7:30 I hear the computerized “Code Blue- Cardiac ICU”. That’s strange; that’s the unit we’re on. I pause my assessment and stick my head out into the hall. McDaniel is over by a room in the corner excitedly waving everyone over.
“I went in and did my first assessment. Came back out to get the meds, and went back to the patient’s room and they were unresponsive. So I called a code,” McDaniel reported.
“Did you check the chart for their code status?” someone asked.
“I couldn’t find it,” said McDaniel.
“What the hell?” Ah, yes, the therapist I’m working with has returned from getting breakfast. “What the hell is going on?” she repeated.
“This patient went unresponsive when I left the room to get their meds so I called a code,” McDaniel excitedly explained.
“Did you bother to check vital signs before declaring them [air quotes] unresponsive? the therapist asked becoming more and more exasperated.
“Yes” and McDaniel rattled off some numbers.
“That’s strange’, the therapist mused aloud. “This patient was pronounced dead at 5:45 this morning. We waiting for the morgue to let us take the patient down.”
McDaniel looked crestfallen. She stammered out ‘but I heard breath sounds. I felt a pulse.’
The therapist replied ‘well you must be a fucking miracle worker because you raised the dead– and then killed them again.”
Snickering broke out among the code team. Some even laughed outright. McDaniel looked like she wished the floor would swallow her whole.
I meandered back to my side of the ICU, and I overheard someone say “Imagine being so incompetent, that you imagined hearing breath sound and feeling a pulse.” and someone else chimed in “Fucking students. They’re all idiots.”
I do my best to not be an idiot, but when your classmates are assessing dead people and saying they hear breath sounds, it’s hard not to agree with them