I would love to tell you more about the incident I was involved in a while ago. For obvious reasons I can’t.  Me, a flight nurse and two paramedics were casually moving a perfectly stable and reasonably well patient through an ED on our way to the ICU. We almost made it through. Then we were ambushed.  

We were ambushed by some sort of improvised crack medical emergency team.

They, ten of them or so,  just materialised in front of us from whatever dark place they were hiding in. Waiting for us. Expecting us.

I asked the flight nurse ´Who are these people?´. No-one had said anything about a hand-over to an ED team. Our patient was perfectly stable. We were to deliver directly to the ICU. That was the agreement. That was the job.

Before the flight nurse had time to answer the team pounced and took our patient over to the resus bay. Within seconds they were all over our patient doing their A-B-Cs. Me and the flight nurse were sidelined by their aggressiveness and our own confusion. Had we missed something?

By the time they hit C our patient wasn´t stable and reasonably well anymore. Not well at all. He was crashing.

External pacemakers really, really do need their electrodes in order to work properly.

The patient eventually pulled through despite all this. Still, this rather dangerous episode drove home three important points.

1. Correct information and logistics are incredibly important aspects of emergency medicine.

2. A dysfunctional and overly psyched medical emergency team is an incredibly dangerous thing.

3. This will not happen to one of my patients again.

This entry was posted in Code Brown, Emergency Medicine, Prehospital Medicine. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Viking One_alias Dr Per says:

    Well well well…..
    Sorry to hear your story__but I am even more sorry to tell you that this will happen again, as well as this has happened before….
    I bunch of us are using the term “external MUPPET factor” – when external (malignant) forces SCREWS up your mission, and YOUR patient…..


    • Thomas D says:

      Muppets – that’s a great name for it! The next time something like this happens, I’ll try to visualise all the Muppets chaotically jumping around. It might keep me from getting too frustrated, and make me smile instead.

  2. Shata Hari says:

    Sorry to hear about your ambush.
    In our hospital it is mandatory that all patients have to go through ED before they go anywhere else in the hospital .
    and most of the times ICU wants something done in ED even before they see the patient…..

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