Code blue! Code blue! As I speak, this announcement is being made somewhere in a hospital in the country. Contest chair fellow toastmasters and guests, good morning. Do you know what code blue means? It is a code used by hospitals to indicate that a patient is requiring immediate resuscitation. Earlier in my career as a nurse, I used to work at Parkland Hospital, a large busy county hospital in Dallas.
I was always scared when going into work, I never knew what kind of day, I am going to have. Someone might be dying and I wouldn’t know what to do!
I would start my shift by making rounds. On this particular day As I was going from room to room. I heard the intercom! Let me show you how we do it.
Code blue room 207!!!! Code blue room 207! That’s my patient, Mrs. Jones!
C’mon guys, let’s go, grab the crash cart. Hurry!
Mrs. Jones (2x), are you Ok? No response, no pulse, not breathing, hook her up to the monitor. James, start compression! Kate, you ventilate!
Ken, you’re the recorder and Liz, start the iv and give the medications! Robert, call Dr. Shad. I will run the code until he comes.
James, push harder and faster!
…6 7 8 9 10… 26 27 28 29 30… breath, breath
1 2 3 4 5…26 27 28 29 30
Stop compression, check pulse, no pulse, the monitor is showing v-fib
Let’s shock her with 200 joules. Stand clear, shocking 2x, All clear, “Thud,” shock delivered.
No pulse, still v-fib James and Kate switch roles, resume compression. (end of role play)
Dr. Shad came and he took over running the code.
Advanced cardiac life support was performed for more than 20 minutes but it was no use, Mrs. Jones decided it was time to go! Dr. Shad Pronounced her dead.
After we cleaned her up, the charge nurse and I moved her to the gurney. Somebody need to take her down to the morgue but everyone was busy! The charge nurse told me, “Pinky, you need to take her down yourself, I need the room for another patient now!” I said,”Me? take her to the morgue, by myself? I don’t even know where that is! I’m not going!” But she insisted! “Ok, I’ll go!”
I began my journey with the gurney. I arrived at the basement. I saw a guard and asked him where The morgue was. He pointed to what looked like a huge steel refrigerator door.
I opened it really wide. I pushed the gurney in and I made a slight turn to place it in position when suddenly… the lights went out and the door shut completely!!!
For a second, I was scared stiff, like a deer in the headlights unable to move but then I realized I needed to get out of here! What if nobody dies in the next few minutes or in an hour or all day, or the next day? What if nobody ever dies, nobody will bring a body to the morgue and I will get stuck here! I can’t die with all these dead people! There’s no code blue here!
I think the door was that way!
I started to feel around for the latch. (Scream) That was a foot!
Whoa, what was that? Did something move? It’s so dark and I’m freezing!
Lord, please help me get out of here! Please do not let the dead rise up today! Then, I felt it. The latch! I turned it and the door opened! (Deep breath) Thank you, Lord!
I returned to my unit all shook up. I was back in the land of the living. Everybody is in motion, doing their own thing. The world had no idea what happened to me but there’s no time to think about it. I had meds to give, doctors to assists, charting to do, patients to take care of, call lights to answer and a million other things to do!
My day ended after a busy 12-hour shift.
Tomorrow will be another day. For some a new beginning for others an ending.
Code blue will always be a part of my life as a nurse. Saving lives is what nursing is all about. Even if you’re not a nurse you must learn the basic cpr. It might come in handy. One night, while my family was having dinner, our one-year-old daughter choked on food. She coughed a lot and turned blue. I grabbed her from her high chair, turned her facedown and delivered 5 backslaps with the heel of my hand. The food came out and she was able to breathe again. Tragedy averted! That girl is now 18 years old. Are you having chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, blurry vision, severe headache, loss of balance, loss of consciousness? Are you still with me? Are you still listening?
Check your pulse, are you breathing? No? call 911 before we call a code blue on you!
This speech was also delivered at the International Speech Contest, Area 64, Representing St. Andrews Speakers Club, Plano, Texas.