No, doctor, this patient will not be waiting 6 hours for surgery

Near the end of my shift, as I was packing up to leave, turning off the phones, the surgeon on call texted me to ask if I was on call.

I told him no, but I was still at the hospital and how could I help him.

I sent him the call nurse’s number and proceeded to take the details of the case.

It is 2236.

I look at the ED census.

There are nearly 60 patients in the ED, 36 with respiratory symptoms.

The house is full and there is a 27 person wait in the ED for a bed on the floor.

I text him that the house is full and the ED is busting and it is in the patient’s best interest to have surgery tonight.

I told him I could get and prep the patient and the room would be ready to go at 2315.

And I didn’t feel comfortable with leaving a youngish, healthyish patient in the ED for 6 hours before the requested time of 0530.

He agreed.

And I sprang into action.

As I was scheduling the case the computer told me the patient had not yet been admitted.

I called the ED, told them I would be over in 6 minutes to get the patient and to please have him admitted so I could schedule the case.

I called the call team in and informed anesthesia.

I went downstairs to get the case picked.

I dropped the case off in the room.

Since the patient was in chairs, meaning the waiting room, I made sure there was a gurney in the recovery room, grabbed the admission pack, and a wheelchair and went to the ED.

The patient was not in chairs. They had been upgraded to hallway where they had been admitted to the ED.

And they were on a gurney.

I parked my wheelchair, introduced myself, and away we went to the recovery room/prep.

I pre-op checklisted, had the patient disrobe, and use the bathroom, got consent with the MD, the anesthesiologist and the patient.

I checked in with the room, where the call nurse and tech had arrived and were counting.

At this time, I called the pacu team in.

I made sure the H&P was in and paused with the CRNA.

And waved off the patient to the room, wishing them a good recovery.

They were in the room at 2319.

Damn that was fun.

But best yet, I saved the patient from hanging out in a very busy ED, in a very busy hospital.

During a covid surge.

In other words, I did my damned job.

Oh, and I went back for the wheelchair and parked it with his things.

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