Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Stroke Team

Apparently, at our very large hospital, there's only one resident on call at night for neurology. One resident for seizures, one resident for strokes, one resident for kiddoes, one resident to bind them. The students on this neurology service take a kind of general call, seeing all kinds of patients. Therefore, even though I'm assigned to the stroke service, I saw two adults and one kid with seizures last night. The serious pontine bleed that came in, which should be on my service, I didn't actually get to see, because I was seeing the kiddo.

While I was in the EC, someone pulled the fire alarm. A piercing siren and flashing lights came on, and after a minute a recorded announcement played: "Warning: a fire has been detected in your area of the building. If you see any evidence of fire, please proceed to the nearest exit using the stairwells. Do not use the elevators." This played over and over, in between the ear-splitting sirens.

I found this message funny for several reasons. My whole life, I've always thought you were supposed to exit a building immediately when a fire alarm goes off. Countless fire drills in school have, well, drilled this message into my head. Last night's recording gives us the choice to evacuate, which both makes sense and doesn't make sense in a hospital setting. It's awfully tough to evacuate a large hospital full of patients, especially if it turns out to be a false alarm; however, if there truly is a fire, and everyone ignores the alarm, it becomes even harder to evacuate hundreds of people in a panic once they "see any evidence of fire."

There were actually a couple of lab workers who did evacuate the building through the EC. A hospital official laughed at them.

No comments: