“Trauma arriving in bay 1. ETA 10 minutes.” That’s generally what you hear before you get ready to address the new patient. You walk down the hallway and put on the protective gear: gowns, face mask, and gloves. EMS rushes through the door and you see a patient on a stretcher being wheeled urgently towards the trauma bay. A flurry of activity begins. EMS tells the attending the story behind the patient’s presentation. Residents and nurses are busy assessing and treating the patient. ABCs. ABCs. ABCs. The trauma surgery team arrives and does an assessment. ABCs. ABCs. ABCs. The patient gets IVs and medications are pushed. Sometimes the patient needs chest compressions.
That’s the general gist of what goes on in the trauma area on a typical day. To be completely honest, most of it ends up being a blur. I’ve done chest compressions on a patient who eventually expired. Everyone tries their best to do what’s appropriate for the patient despite the limited information we have about the patient. Once the patient has left the trauma bay, you rarely get a chance to reflect on the situation because there are a bunch of other patients waiting to be seen. It can become intense quite quickly when the patient’s status is deteriorating.
I appreciate that after a trauma, many attendings gather the team and talk about what was done well and what could have been improved. I feel that this bolsters camaraderie and improves overall performance. The trauma bay can be a crazy place!