As I began to fall into a routine, my days at Parkland were quickly beginning to run together. Employees throughout the hospital were now beginning to speak to me each time they saw me. They acted like I’d been working there with them for years, and to be honest, I was starting to feel like I had worked there for years!
In the past two weeks, I had passed my supervisor’s EKG technician test and had been performing portable EKGs throughout the hospital for well over a week. This experience was priceless, as I had the opportunity to move freely by myself throughout the hospital, answering only to the loud and somewhat annoying beep of my EKG pager.
Recently, I had just been called to respond to a code blue, which is only called when a patient has flat-lined. The room was absolutely swarming with doctors and nurses holding needles and pill baskets with every drug imaginable. The room was so full that doctors and nurses were lined up anxiously in the hallways waiting for their specific specialty and skill-set to be called upon.
I timidly rolled my EKG machine toward the sounds of the yelling doctors and nurses. I did as I was instructed to do in these types of situations. I yelled “EKG” to see if I was needed yet, and no one responded. I wheeled my cart to the side of the hallway and then tried to stick my head in the door to see what was going on.
What I saw truly was an inspiration. The room was full of doctors, nurses, nurse assistants and countless other professionals, all working as one to try to save a life. It easily surpassed any Hollywood version on television.
Suddenly, one of the doctors looked up and saw my name badge. “EKG,” he yelled. I felt the adrenaline flow through my body as I rushed to get my machine. It was hard to see anything. The patient was drenched in sweat, and there were doctors all over him performing CPR, searching for a pulse and injecting shots. There was no room for me to get my machine next to the bed.
So, I yelled the only thing I could think of at that moment. “EKG!!!! Move out of the way!” I didn’t know what to expect, but the doctors all jumped around to the other side of the bed to provide room for my machine. A young doctor looked at me and calmly said, “Tell us what you need.”
The patient’s body was shaking under all of the stress of CPR. In order for an EKG reading to be successful, the patient has to remain unmoved for at least a good 5-10 seconds. I pulled the shirt up and put on the electrodes as fast as I ever had. Again I yelled the first thing that came to my mind. “I need his body to be still!” The doctors immediately stopped CPR and I froze just for an instant. Here I was, the summer intern, yelling at a doctor to move out of the way! Then I printed off the results, and they instantly began CPR once again.
Several minutes later it was all over … the patient had survived. I watched the doctors walk out of the room in what seemed like slow motion. They were all smiling and shaking hands in celebration. Beads of sweat ran down their foreheads, and I knew 100 percent in that moment … I had chosen the right career path for my future.