No, the trauma bay is not quite like San Fransisco Bay or Chesapeake Bay. The trauma bay is the specialized room where trauma alerts arrive, usually from the helicopter, but occasionally by ambulance. The trauma bay has everything you could possibly need while resucitating a patient within about 6 feet of the patient’s bed. Equipment for putting in chest tubes, cricothyrotomies, cracking chests…and then the usual catheters, NG tubes, etc. There is an oxygen stalactite (or is it stalagmite?) hanging from the cieling near the ehad of the bed with attachments for two oxygen sources, suction for cleaning out the mouth and/or lungs. A specialized bed allows x-ray cassettes to be quickly inserted without disturbing the patient.
I love the trauma bay! As a first year resident, we’re not allowed in. Well, we can go in the room, but we’re not part of the trauma alert. While the upper levels go in and play with mangled extremities, brains oozing from ears and flailing segments of chest walls, the first years stay in teh department seeing chest pain, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and the worst….”weak and dizzies.”
Now that I’m a second year, I rush to the trauma bay when I hear an alert. I pull on my blue suit…gown mask, hat, booties and gloves, and eagerly await the truama. We have the best job on the team, I think. We (the emergency medicine residents) are in charge of all things HEAD related. That includes intubation if needed, adjusting the tube. We usually don’t run the trauma, that’s the trauama team’s job. It’s still early in the year, so all the surgery interns are still learning, the upper level surgery residents are getting used to running the traumas, and the attendings get fed up and just take over!
Anyway, yesterday was my 2nd trauma in the trauma bay, a motorcycle passenger who was thrown, broke her right leg and hip and her left lower leg. She was lucky that’s all that was broken. Our state has recently repealed a 35 year helmet law, so we can expect to see MANY more traumas arriving in about 2 months when it takes effect. Today is my 3rd flight shift, and I still havn’t had a flight yet. Here’s hoping today’s the day!