“Class one trauma, ETA five minutes,” the voice on the overhead announces. I head in that direction, wondering what this will be.
When I get to the ER, the team is waiting for the ambulance. Everything is prepared (they stay that way). They wait, some small talk goes on, perhaps to relieve some of the tension before the chaos starts. There is that moment that is amazing. Their adrenaline is beginning to rise, yet they are calm. They know there will be 25 things to do when those doors open.
I love being there to observe. My first job is the listen, watch, and find out information. I listen to the team in the trauma room, and if possible find a corner in which to stand. I want to know if any family is here, and if so, talk to them. If possible I offer reassurance that the team is working and the doctor will be in as soon as he or she can break away. Then I go back to find out more. They communicate in short sharp and fluid phrases. “Five minutes since the last epi (epinephrine)”. “Stop compressions”. “Resume compressions.” “Let’s get another line in.” “I’ve got it.” “Do we have a pulse?” “Yes, we have a pulse.” It seems to go on as long as it take”s.
“Family is in the waiting room,” I tell the doc. He needs to know if they are here and where. This team has to trust each other. They are dealing with life and death. Too many people depend on them to work quickly and efficiently. It is amazing to be with them and part of the effort. The heavy part of my job is after the news is delivered, whether good or bad. I usually escort the family members to the room, to either talk to their live loved one or grieve their loss. The other team members move on the other patients; a nurse or two remains to offer comfort or continue to watch to patient.
This is total trust, and all too rare in our world today. Yet it still exists in critical areas.