Say those words to a medic, and you will nearly always get a groan. In my first due, we have a set of three nursing homes located on the same block. We have nicknamed them the “Triad of Death.” I have written before about how funny the interaction can be between nursing home nurses and paramedics. The video in that post nails it, like the author was there with me (I don’t even know who made that video.)

Now before I continue, I would like to make note that this is not a slam on all nurses, and note that I slam incompetent medics as well as incompetent nurses. If you are offended by what I am about to say, maybe you should look in the mirror and decide if you are the nurse I am writing about.

I responded to one of the triad for a report of “CPR in progress.” This particular nursing home has a large central common room where with about 30 rooms that open directly into it. One of the staff members was standing at the entrance smoking a cigarette, and told me the patient’s room number, the rest of the staff was serving breakfast to the majority of the residents. When I got to the patients room, the door was closed and I entered to find a patient who was in a neatly made up bed, pulseless and apneic, and not a single staff member in the room. This patient was warm to the touch and had no lividity.

A staff member came in behind me and asked me to keep the door closed because seeing our dead patient was disturbing the other residents’ breakfast. I asked if the patient had a DNRO, and she replied that the patient did not. I was stunned that a nursing home would abandon a patient like this. We worked the asystole code, and the patient was declared dead at the hospital.

I filed a complaint. How far did it go? Nowhere. The manager of the facility said her nurse panicked, and was performing CPR when the phone rang, so she went to answer it. The manager then filed a counter complaint against us, because she claims that one of us laughed out loud during the code. We most certainly did not, because I was way too pissed off to find anything funny. That is a standard defense of the incompetent, though:

1 Lie
2 Deny
3 Demand proof
4 Make counter accusations

I cannot even contact the patient’s family to let them know why the guy is dead, because of HIPAA.They will probably never know.

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