“A real code, and real CPR is nothing like television or movies would have you believe. Its not a sexy doctor dramatically pounding his fist against a patients chest and yelling “Live Goddam it!” while a monotone flatline sounds from a monitor in the background and nurses somehow weep and swoon simultaneously. A real code is actually far worse; it is a violent, cold a cruel scene. Chest compressions have to be deep, hard and fast. All sex jokes aside, it is a physically demanding action usually resulting in broken ribs and internal organ damage. Large bore IV access is a necessity for the massive doses of epinephrine, lidocaine, and other potentially toxic medications that ironically if they weren’t capable of restarting a heart, they would surely stop it.
Successful resuscitation is not commonplace. What typically happens is a temporary restoration of vital signs that last hours, maybe days at best. In elderly or seriously ill patients, we often wonder if it is worth causing all the physical trauma a code entails. But if a person can be saved, and wants to be saved, who are we to decide their fate?” -Kelsey David Burnham Thank You for Dying: A Hospital Memoir.
(Photo courtesy of Mark Fisher and Heather Thornton)