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by Enolse
Rated: E · Short Story · Experience · #2265846
A few moments of one of my shifts
My patient’s ventilator is alarming. Despite being on high doses of sedation it was not enough. His arms strain against his restraints as he tries to extubate himself. I put my PPE on as fast as I can and run in to bolus him with more fentanyl and increase his fentanyl drip. His grip on the bed relaxes and he is asleep again.

I am tired. I need to take him to get a CT. I call the respiratory therapist who comes and puts him on the portable ventilator. I give him another bolus of fentanyl before we transport him. I struggle trying to untangle the mess of wires and IV tubing. I take special notice of his arterial line in his wrist that is measuring his blood pressure continuously without the need for a blood pressure cuff. I dont want that coming out of his arm.

I unplug the pumps and they turn off. Quickly I plug them in and try to find some pumps that still work when they are unplugged. Management is aware that many of the IV pumps dont work when they are unplugged. They dont care. Management’s priorities are making money, not patient safety. Nothing matters to them except for profit.

The respiratory therapist, nursing assistant and I transport my patient to CT. I hope he doesnt wake up and pull his endotracheal tube out while in the CT machine. It would be very difficult for anesthesia to reintubate him on the CT table.

It is hard for me to push the heavy bed and make sure the IV pole I am also pushing isnt pulling at his iv sites. I dont want those coming out. Then he would get no sedation and his blood pressure would drop because he is getting a norepinephrine infusion as well.

We make it to CT and together we use the sheet he is on to pull him onto the CT table. He begins to move again and I bolus him with more fentanyl. Thinking back, I should have increased his propofol infusion as well—although he was already almost maxxed out on that.

We go into the test room and watch him through the large window while he gets his CT. A pump begins beeping. I let the CT tech know and I quickly go back through the door to fix the pump. When the pump beeps, it isnt infusing meaning his blood pressure could plummit or he could wake up d/t no sedation.

I fix the pump and the CT tech completes the test.

We pull the patient back onto the icu bed and take him back to his room.

I get him settled and check on my other patient whose oxygen is dropping.

My heart breaks for America. Corporate greed should not be in hospitals. Residents should not be working 28 hour shifts. Profit should not be prioritized over patient care.

My heart breaks for my patients. My heart breaks that I cant give them the care they deserve.
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