Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Our dangerous dance

Update: the patient we tried so hard to save quickly died after arriving at Baghdad hospital. He's in a much better place than we are, to be sure.

This brings me to this post's topic: Resource Management. The team has spent a lot of time talking about how to manage trauma over the past few weeks. Taking care of patients in this austere environment is much different than treating the same patient in the United States....supply is always a consideration, but out here supplies become downright precious.

Besides dealing with trauma and loss, the next hardest thing we have to face out here is the judicious management of resources.....

We just want to do the right thing: we are trained to save the life....and giving up is the last thing to cross our mind--ever. But we have had some heavy debates over the past few days, and had to set some unfortunate boundaries and limits. When we activate the walking blood bank, we are taking potential future donors out of the picture for two months....activating it twice in one day for the same patient is unheard of. One false move on our part, and a future blast or gunshot victim with very treatable injuries may die weeks from now because of a futile decision we make today.

Deciding who gets the resources and who doesn't forces choices on us that quite frankly we just don't want to make......it has deep and lasting ramifications for a trauma team that just wants to "do good", but especially for the patients and their families and friends back home.......the fact that every decision we make out here has consequences one way or the other is constantly on our thoughts.

4 comments:

brokeshopaholic said...

I've just started reading your blog and just want to say "THANK YOU" for all that you do. I'm a RN in a small rural ER in Western Canada and find your updates interesting, inspiring and humbling. Be safe

Anonymous said...

Carl, each time I read your blog, it makes me realize more how difficult a task you and your team have. Prayers that God gives all of you the strength, (mentally, emotionally and physically) that you need to do your best. Be safe and well.
Love,
ChiTown Sandy

Anonymous said...

Carl,
Your blog is hard for me to read since I have taken for granted the security and freedom I am receiving because of the dedication of our military. It must be even harder for you to write, trying to explain the things you see and experience and not even being able to do it justice by words. I thought the decisions I made very day were hard. May God bless you and keep you in his protecting arm. I will pray that God direct you in every decision and act you take, knowing that you need divine guidance as you show an example of his mercy.

Phillip

Desert Flier said...

Everyone, many thanks for your support! I finally have this blog the way I want it, along with feeds to my email so I have plenty of time to read and reflect on everyone's feedback (this is in reference to the long ago entry that I couldn't read comments due to my internet-starved state).
Without each and every one of you, this blog wouldn't be what it is! I am humbled and amazed at how it has brought so many together...lets continue to make it bigger than any of us individually.