Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Life and Death OR Transition of the Year Award

Yesterday we attended a lecture on CPR in the hospital. We learned all about the paddles ("1, 2, 3 Clear!"), transcutaneous pacemakers, "amps of epi" and tons of other things network television tells us hospitals use. The focus was very much on heroic, life-saving measures that involve a lot of shouting and yelling and inserting. We even had a little skit/scenario put on for us with a dummy that had every possible thing go wrong. At the end of the scenario our instructor said "Of course, you may try everything and the patient still dies." At this moment, the life-saving lecture turned into a prep-for-morgue lecture. A logical transition, yes, but one we were not prepared for. All of a sudden we were learning where to put toe tags on patients who didn't have toes (common in diabetics), to put a leak-proof bad under a corpse's bum because they are prone to leakage and the importance of positioning patients symmetrically before the enter rigor mortis.

The lecture ended with students sharing experiences about deaths in their family and what added or took away from their experiences in the hospital or wherever their family member was dying. It seems that people had the best experiences with hospices but the universal was that a kind nurse made a great deal of difference. At the end of the lecture, I was crying. I wasn't alone.

On the other end of things: we're all v. excited because they're in the midst of assigning us our hospitals for the childbearing rotation that we'll start in the fall.


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