It’s been awhile since I posted a juicy ER story. This one is somewhat second hand, but I can tell i from my perspective. As I sat in our dream-world outpatient acute care pediatric clinic yesterday afternoon, having seen about 3 patients in 3 hours, the phone rang. It was one of our ER attendings.

“Hello, Kiddy Klinic, Shazam speaking.”

“Shazam? Shazam! Shazam, get over her to the ER, we need you!”

“Huh?”

“Just kidding, but we have four traumas coming at once and we’re calling in everyone we can.”

Meanwhile, he was dumping, I mean, sending the kids in the ER waiting room over to our clinic to be seen to try and lighten their load in the face of four simultaneous traumas from the same accident.

Later that day, during my lunch break, I sauntered through the ED, only to see patients and caregivers filling the hallways, flight medics checking in patients to be seen, off-service ED residents working in the ER, traffic jams of intubated patients on gurneys with portable ventilators trying to get to and from the CT scanners, and just about everyone wearing trauma gowns and masks. It was crazy! One of the medics grabbed me by both shoulders, pulled me close to him for an intense face to face mandate, “Get out of here as fast as you can! THey’ll make you work!”

Later that night when the chaos had been reigned in, I talked to the ED attending I had spoken with earlier in the day…the charge nurse was ready to call it a formal disaster. Since the attending had already called in extra physicians, and the flight medics were working as techs and the flight nurses as ER nurses, the attending asked the charge, “what does that get me that I don’t already have?” “We put on the vests,” was his reply. The bright orange and yellow vests with titles on the back like “Incident Commander”, “Medical Director” and so forth.

“No, ” was the simple reply the attending gave.

So that’s as close to a disaster as we’ve come here so far, and a pretty good drill at that. I was more than happy to see a few extra sick kids at the kiddy clinic to help out.