Sunday, January 21, 2007

first code experience

at the hospital where i work at, there are a certain list of "codes" that everyone must learn and recognize.
  • code 99 - patient is having respiratory failure
  • code 55 - bomb threat
  • code adam - missing child
  • dr. red - fire
so last friday, the normal secretary left work early to care for her ailing mother, which is totally understandable, and i am able to do "most" of her job decently, and plus i would get some overtime. the only problem is that when i have to cover her job, as well as do mine, things can get a little chaotic because answering the phones isn't a predictable job. as soon as there's a long silence from the phone, maybe 10 minutes, i am falsely reassured that it probably won't ring for another 10 minutes or so, and scurry over to my cubicle to do my inventory stuff that i can't do at her desk. RING RING! ok, so that was a bad idea, and i run back to her desk to answer the phone. "CV diagnostics, this is frylime." i never have to really do anything, just transfer the calls to the department they want, or announce over the paging system "person, 1488" or "person answering a page, 1488" or whatever they want announced. i would like to say that i've gotten kinda decent on answering the phones, or at least i've gotten better at b.s.'ing stuff, and the normal secretary (let's call her J) says that i'm doing great.

well, friday before lunchtime i was unloading my late morning/early afternoon shipment, when i hear over the hospital intercom system "code 99 on third floor". i thought to myself, aah, that means respiratory failure. and being on the second floor with no patient duties whatsoever, i just minded my own business. then the phone starts ringing. i run over, and a nurse is telling me that one of the cath patients who had just gotten wheeled to his/her room was having a code 99, and asked that i page a doctor. so i page the doctor she requested, no answer. i then paged any doctor, no answer. then comes the enslaught of nurses from the back, all of them screaming at me WHAT'S GOING ON! of course, i only knew what the nurse on the phone said, which was code 99 on third floor, and i like to think i work well under pressure, but still being relatively new and not knowledgeable of all the phone numbers of the hospital, i couldn't provide more info or could i get more. thankfully, one nurse stopped questioning me, dialed some numbers and took control of the situation. i slunk back to my cubicle and away from all the chaos. luckily soon after a tech or receptionist from the EKG lab came and relieved me for my lunch break, where i ate in the cafeteria in the corner away from everyone and stared out the window at the rain. i assume everything went ok during the code 99 because i didn't hear anyone talk about "losing" anyone. and then i thought about it a little more, and there was one patient that was moaning oddly when he/she left the lab (my cubicle is right next to the in/out doors to the lab), and don't really hear people moan when they leave.

so that was my first hospital code experience. lessons learned: get all the information possible before paging people, if necessary, run back to the back myself to round up the troops, and that all doctors are "selectively deaf" when it comes to answering all pages, whether they be for "personal calls" or emergencies. however i feel that if another code should happen on my watch, i will be better prepared to respond in the appropriate manner required of someone in my position.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you did great under the circumstances, it's not your fault they have you doing someone else's job. Good work.

Sora said...

Good words.