Sunday, June 03, 2007

Live By the Gun

There are things that I never thought in a million years I would do in my life. I started as an RN about 5 years ago and this has got to be one of the most fucked up jobs out there. I joke with the students that you have to be ready to see anything, because the minute you become complacent, you will be surprised again.

For most people "Gang Wars" are something you only see on TV and in movies. Around here it's a day to day thing. It the ER we are pretty much on the level with the people on the streets and have a pretty good perspective on what is going on. We know which neighborhood is beefing with who and can predict when we will see retaliation.

Thursday night in the trauma room I get a drive up. (by the way folks, 911 is ALWAYS a better idea!) 17 year old shot through the belly. He went to the OR pretty quickly. I had the pleasure of going through his things. I have learned NOT to just pull things out of pockets, but to shine my penlight in there first. I'm not worried about uncapped needles and razors, but those little plastic baggies that we all love. The "green leafy substance" or the "little white rocks" that mean the police get my name address and social AGAIN, just to make sure I didn't put it there. I had never even seen drugs until I started to work in the ER. So this guy had a golf ball sized baggie, fake gold teeth, lots of cash and a cell phone that just didn't stop ringing. By the way, he was just minding his business........

Friday night on the way to work, the road was blocked and the cop and I had to take a detour. There was an accident, lots of police cars and tape. Turns out that my gsw boy from the day before had some visitors, several of whom were arrested. The others went after his friends on the street and (another) kid had been shot and was being driven to the hospital. Driving while shot is never a good thing. These folks were in an accident right by the hospital. Fortunately, for the kid shot in the head, a neurosurgery attending was behind them and did mouth to mouth (ewwwwwwww!!!!!) while the ambulance was called.

So this was my pt for the night. Hole in the temple, brains oozing out (and as much as the docs would beg to differ) BRAINS SMELL! As the brain herniates it will come out of every hole imaginable..... nose, ears and finally mouth. Not a "pretty" way to go. The head swells to the size of a basketball, and the eyes bug out due to the swelling so the eyelids won't close. Its pretty nasty.

It took 4 hours to declare this 19 year old brain dead. 3 more to rope the family back in (they ran as soon as they were told) and finally they decided to donate the kids organs. Lots of docs and nurses stopped by his bedside. Though legally, he was already dead..... they still asked him as he laid there. Was it worth it??? I see so many of these young kids and feel the same way. They say "Live by the gun, die by the gun." I've had two in the last two weeks and I must ask..... is it worth it???? I think not.


Blogger Circles said...

I know what you mean. I worked at Highland Hospital in Oakland. It is a different breed, these sort of people.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Stephanie, RN said...

eek. i've seen it once. a guy on christmas even took a gun to his head and ended up in the ER. he was told he had prostate cancer the day before and joked with his wife (or so she thought) about taking his life.
his brain was bulging through the top of his skull the roof of his mouth and his eyes were so swollen and closed shut that he looked unrecognizable. i don't remember smelling his brain though.

4:40 AM  

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