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Walt Hardester

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Sometimes It Is Best To Do Nothing
By Walt Hardester
Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Last edited: Wednesday, October 05, 2011
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent stories by Walt Hardester
· Almost Busted
· Who to Believe?
· She Told Me To Do It
· Five Minutes Of Fame
· Papa There's A Big Fish
· A Steamboat Springs Nightmare
· I Wonder If He Even Realized
           >> View all 67
A hospital memior
One Sunday afternoon, my weekend partner and I were in the hospital cafeteria having dinner. An announcment came over the hospital intercom calling for Respiratory Therapy to get to the CCU STAT.
The cafeteria was in the basement of the hospital and the CCU was on the third floor, basically four flights of stairs away.
A STAT call means you take the stairs and not wait for the elevator.
After four flights of stairs both my partner and I needed oxygen.

When we arrived in the CCU, we were summoned into a room where the patient was on a ventilator.
The high pressure alarm on the ventilator was buzzing constantly. The nurse said she didn't know what was wrong, but she had bumped the machine and a hose had came loose, she said she replaced the hose, and then the high pressure alarm began going off.

I quickly took a look at the patient to see if there might be some obstruction of his breathing tube, but he was still getting air.
However, I did notice that each time the machine gave the patient a breath his chest would expand just a bit and not go back down.
I watched for two breaths.
I then realized the patient wasn't able to exhale. I immediatly began tracing the ventilator tubing starting at the patient, when I got to the machine I saw that the nurse had replaced the dislocated tube onto the exhalation port of the machine.
By doing this there was nowhere for the exhaled air to go, and the patient's lungs were blowing up like baloons.
I pulled the hose off the exhalation valve, and all the air the patient had recieved since the faulty hose replacement came out with a long and loud Hissssssssssssssssssss.
According to protocol, the nurse should have not replaced the tube, but instead should have called us, and used a "bag" to breathe for the patient until we arrived.

Her mistake could have caused the patients lungs to burst from the pressure, then collapse, and the patient would have then been in real trouble.
Fortunately this was not the case and an x-ray confirmed it.
I have no idea how much air was really in the patients lungs when I pulled the tube, but it was a lot, and it also goes to show just how elastic lungs really are.

I did not write the nurse up because that's just me, and anyone can make an honest mistake. Besides she was so scared and apolegetic, I didn't want her to suffer any more since there was no real harm done. But, I did remind her about the established protocol.

This story was not funny until we knew all was well, but I never let the nurse forget it, and sometimes when I would be around her, I would look at her and go, Hisssssssssssss, I usually got slapped. But it was really more like a love tap.



Reader Reviews for "Sometimes It Is Best To Do Nothing"

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Reviewed by Jean Strickland 9/18/2007
I'm sorry Walt, I should not have but I started laughing before I knew the outcome. I usually don't laugh at people who fall until I know they are okay either. I guess it made me think about some of the funny things that happened in our ICU/CCU that are not funny at the time but for some reason, no matter the outcome, there's always something funny to recall later. I just wanted to know if the patient was conscious or not and how big his eyes were!
Reviewed by Dana Reed 9/8/2007
Great piece. We all make mistakes, hence the old saying, "That's why they put erasers on pencils." However, only a person with a lot of heart would remember. You go, Walt.

Reviewed by Southern Comfort 8/31/2007
Oh Cutie Pie! I jest love yore stories! I am glad the White Knight was around to save folks from hospital oops! LOVE YA! Sissy
Reviewed by Michael Guy 8/30/2007
I like to hear these true life ancedotes you write. Still, this is why I fear hospitals (and I've had a lot 'em in my early life) But you handled it so well--must be your military and sailing training. Your the "Captain"
Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 8/30/2007
interesting story-i enjoy these
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 8/29/2007
Oh my goodness....serious mistake...but with a almost happy ending...if it was not for the SLAP!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Felix Perry 8/29/2007
Though we are all human and prone to make mistakes from time to time, when we chose feels that involve emergency services whether it be medical, fire fighting, military or policing we have to go that extra mile to ensure that it does not cost someone else the ultimate pric.

Reviewed by Mr. Ed 8/29/2007
I would look at her and go, Hisssssssssssss, I usually got slapped.

I can't imagine why! And that was extremely nice of you not to turn her in; she should have kissed ya, every time ya went - Hissssssssss!
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 8/29/2007
Maybe next time will not be place for another Hissssssss as she has learned the lesson well.
A slap? you asked for it and you should have ducked!!!!!!!!
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 8/29/2007
Great write, Walt; sometimes it isn't funny until afterwards. Very well done!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :)

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