Wednesday, July 3, 2013

MyPod Birthday Month #3 - Taking You Home



 I can still remember watching this episode of E.R. on May 11, 2000.  I was in medical school, and we all knew that George Clooney was going to make an appearance in this episode.  Oh, the chemistry had sizzled, and although we were sad to see Hathaway leave, we knew she was going to a better place.

It's kind of funny that this song came up during the shuffle today, because as I made the 5.5 hour drive to Sacramento a few days ago, this song started playing during the drive.  I was immediately taken back to the E.D. episode and remembering the entire scene.  But, also today, there was a bit of a bittersweet irony that this song came up.

I had a particularly bad trauma come into the E.D. on Saturday.  I had to leave for Sacramento just after my shift, and I had hoped for a reasonably easy day.  It wasn't to be.  Regardless, this patient came in during the later part of the morning, and she was severely injured;  so much so that I made the decision to intubate her (put a breathing tube in and place her on the ventilator.)  I asked her if this was something she would want.  When she answered "yes" I asked if there were any family available and found out that her mother, daughter and granddaughter were in the lobby.

I brought them back to talk to the patient before I ultimately put the tube in and she would be unable to speak.  I knew then it was going to be a long time before she would be coming off the ventilator given her injuries.  They kissed and said their "I love you's" before we had them step out while I intubated the patient.  Her injuries were such that we had to transfer her to the nearest trauma center.

 I found out today in a news report that she died soon after arrival.  While I mentally ran through her injuries in my habitual "what did I miss, or what else could I have done" manner which I always do when I get an update on a patient, I thought back to the one thing I feel I did the best -- I let her have those final moments with her family.  Although I didn't know it at the time, they were able to say those important final good-byes.

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