They told us that we would be dealing with a mass casualty drill with the nearby Air Force base this morning, and that there would b an active shooter involved.
I told our dispatcher to let everyone know what our protocol is and that anyone not moving patients needed to grab every spare stretcher and wheelchair that they could and bring them to the Emergency Department’s ambulance bay.
When the “disaster” was called, there were four of us in the office, so we went our separate ways to grab every stretcher we could (which were six in our storage room and one of the ED’s in the hallway). We brought them to the bay we’d been instructed to take them to. At this point, we had seven stretchers and zero wheelchairs.
The first transmission we heard was that there were going to be seven injured coming in by ambulance. We had some time, so we ran and got several wheelchairs and a few more stretchers from empty ER rooms and hallways.
The first injured came in. The base doesn’t play, apparently. People with very realistic looking makeup came out of the ambulances.
The whole hour or so passed in kind of a blur, once victims came rolling in. I rolled a stretcher to an ambulance. The EMT told me he needed one stretcher, and two chairs. The lady in the back was black-tagged (i.e. deceased).
For an hour or so my team rolled the “injured” where they needed to go, while alternately breaking to go find more wheelchairs.
It was almost 11:00 a.m. when they called it done. I was super-impressed by my Transport team’s professionalism. This was my first drill in almost 17 years that I wasn’t stuck behind a desk fielding maintenance calls. It was almost surreal in that the makeup on the injured almost made me forget that this was a drill.
That being said, this drill put me about two hours behind my daily oxygen inventory run, so right after all the wheelchairs and stretchers were put where they belong, I did my daily rounds.
I started on the 7th floor and when I got to the L&D (Labor & Delivery) soiled utility room, I was pretty much feeling like I’d seen it all, because gun shot victims and the like. I walked in to see how many empty O2 cylinders there were and found zero and the placenta. Right there on the counter…In a medical grade Tupperware container. Now, normally things in buckets or canisters make me gag, which is why I gave up on thinking I could be a nurse, but red stuff in canisters doesn’t usually bug me. (Phlegm and anything that even APPEARS to be phlegm will have me gagging.)
So apparently, they are holding this placenta (it was labeled as such) for the new mom. (I’m assuming; many new moms of this generation will consume their placenta in various ways; don’t ask me, though. I’m of the previous generation.) Live and let live, right?
The point of this? Just how many of you that aren’t clinical get to come upon a placenta on your day to day dealings?
Let’s just chalk this day up to #surreal and call it good, yes?
Until next time…