Last week at part time work we had a patient come in who had apparently fallen and then began having some neurological symptoms that were worrisome. I didn't really notice what was up until she came back from getting a CT and I heard her breathing strangely. Fast, unconscious breathing through clenched teeth. We had a medic student with us that day and we gravitated toward the room because I knew this patient was about to "buy a tube" and it was a good opportunity for the stu to get some experience.
In the room the nurse was getting a couple of IVs started and bloods drawn. The patient was wriggling all over the place and we helped hold her down. After what seemed like ages the doc came in and we all got on the same page that this patient needed an airway. He ordered drugs to RSI the patient (sedate and paralyze a patient to facilitate intubation). The nurse got the drugs together and then my partner for the day got wind of what was going on. He grabbed the intubation kit and headed for the room. He and the doc got into a discussion about God knows what, probably like whether or not dogs can look up. Meanwhile, the student, the nurse, and I were pushing these serious drugs. The doc kept talking.
I tried to interrupt their all important discussion. "Hey, how about we stop talking and intubate this patient?" I gestured with my hands the motions of intubation. They kept talking. I exchanged a significant look with the nurse. She stood between them. "I've pushed the sux, maybe we should do this now." They were both finally snapped back to reality. My partner made to do the intubation, when I stuck up for the stu. "Why don't you let him do it?"
Thankfully he agreed. I quietly coached the student and when he got the tube I was as happy as if I had done it myself.
So many times in clinicals I wished I had had an advocate, and here the tables were turned.
By the time the patient was tubed and sedated the helicopter was there to take her to a facility that could hopefully fix her.