Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Purple heart

Boy, you talk about taking a hit for the team. The ERs are full of patients coming in with the flu and one by one the medial staff is dropping. The first was our receptionists, they are at ground zero, meeting each patient and getting hacked on. Fever of 103F with muscle aches that make you wish to be intubated they went on the injured reserve. The techs and nurses were next. Even with the best of universal precauations, they went down. ER docs, PAs and NPs weren't immune despite the flu shots and gallons of Tamiflu.

Running on skeleton staff the ER is doing its best. The hospital is filled with those with the worst of the flu. Some intubated on vents, some barely hanging on. The respiratory therapists fighting the flu themselves struggle to keep patients oxygenating.

Everybody is getting sick but that is part of the job.

1 comment:

SeaSpray said...

Wow- I am thinking that I am glad I don't work in your hospital right now. I am out of the loop with that stuff since I am not working as yet.

I am happy to say that in my 20 years working with the ER that I only had the flu twice...thank God.

You are right - the pts do hack on you. I tried to wash my hands or wipe down the desk, phone and pens and most of all keep my hands off my face or use the back of my hands if I had to brush my hair aside, etc.

We relocated upstairs while waiting for construction of the new ER. There was a large air conditioner directly behind me that I turned on even in winter months. (The hospital was old and heated unevenly and our wing got too hot.)The ER entrance door opened just off to the left of me and so let in the cold winter air. That all made me very happy and my joke was that no respectable flu germ would hang out in my area. I did turn A/C off if pts came in with chills. Also a couple of ER docs would come down by me to cool off sometimes.

I have never gotten the flu shot even tho they provided it. I was in the hospital for a week in Jan 06 and the nurse offered me the flu shot and was actually going to get it but one of my docs said not to. I never thought to ask him why but maybe because i had had sepsis, etc.? I don't know.?? I never got the hep B shot where I worked either because I saw one employee get real sick from it. Everyone else was fine tho.

One of our ER docs had been quite sick one nite and had to constantly run to the bathroom which fortunately was right across the hall. The next time I worked with him he laughed about that nite and said "It's pretty bad when the doctor is more sick than the patient!" :)

Hope you don't catch it. Enjoyed your post. :)