One of the most intense moments of my third-year of medical school was during my internal medicine clerkship when a code blue was called.
It was our responsibility as medical students on the inpatient service to report to every code blue while we were on our calls every 4th night. This time was no different, and my call partner and I ran to the code. When we arrived, I recognized the patient as someone I had admitted a few days prior myself. I witnessed my team of residents running the code with a cardiologist supervising, The designated ICU resident was ordering epinephrine, the patient was being defibrillated, and no matter what was tried, our patient wasn’t coming back. Aggressive chest compressions had been ongoing and were still continuing.
As I took my turn compressing the patient’s chest, I started to become out of breath, as I had recently had an upper respiratory infection myself that was continuing to drain the energy out of me. Despite this, I kept thinking, my patient deserves every ounce of effort above and beyond what a virus could take from me. I may be having a weak moment – this patient is technically already dead. He needs everything I have in me to have any moment back. I continued to compress knowing that it was those motions that distributed the blood for his body. What an important job.