Monday, September 12, 2005


Half past three in the morning here. Behind me the man with the bright orange crest of hair is trembling in his bed, a side effect of the salbutamol which has treated his asthma. To my left Dr Sock, surgical scrubs and ponytail, is typing in an efficient looking manner - doubtless doing some real work, not writing an internet diary. My two remaining patients are "awaiting bloods", but I strongly suspect their real problem is a night in the emergency department is better than a night at wherever they call home.

And we've had a birth and a death here already.

The first was a code green to resus. Someone pulled up to the emergency entrance in a battered old Commodore and ran into the room, shouting his girlfriend was having a baby.

"She has to go to the birthing unit" said the triage nurse. "It's just around the cor- "

"She's having it now!" hollered the man.

They dragged the woman from the car and loaded her onto a barouche. She was already making that high, keening sound that some women make, a sound I've only ever heard in labour ward. They dragged her into resus, and they put oxygen on her, I started getting a line in, and we called a code green (get the obstetric people and the paediatric resus people down here now), and someone said birthing unit was ready for her.

"We can make it" said Lauren, who was nursing senior. "It's like a hundred metres down the corridor. They've got all the stuff there."

"Okay" said Dr Quinsy. "She's barely dilated. Let's go for it."

And they took the oxygen off, and I undid the tourniquet, and the barouche headed off down the corridor, Dr Quinsy at the "baby end" which was appropriately covered with a sheet. They got about twenty metres away.

"Oh God!" I could hear the woman shriek.

"Don't push! Don't push!' said Dr Quinsy.

"Oh God, I can feel it moving!"

"Moving?" Dr Q lifted the sheet, glanced, and stuck her hands forward. Suddenly there was the sound of a baby crying.

"Jesus" she said. "Right. Reverse, reverse, we're going back to resus!!".

Anyway, by the time they got the trolley backed up there was the obstetric people and the paediatric resus people all ready (for a while it had been like one of those Three Stooges things where people rush in and out of rooms looking for each other), and they cut the cord and everyone cheered, and we ahnded the exhausted and suddenly really sleepy mother a beautiful baby boy.

God, if only more of medicine was like that. Health and happiness and people getting better.

Thanks for listening


Anonymous Camillene said...

That's lovely. Thank you for making me smile so hugely :D

11:52 PM  

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