ICU Team Develops Defibrillator With New Setting: The Slow Code Mode

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PHOENIX, AZ – Luck of the Lady Hospital in Arizona has begun to trial a defibrillator developed by a few of its seasoned staff, The Zoll 990 with a coveted setting, the slow code mode (SCM).

defibrillator
“Sloooow code mode activated.  Arming 25 millijoules.”

Nurse Andrea Lane and pulmonologist Dr. Dustin Reid have collaborated their efforts and medical knowledge to bring a humane and compassionate feel to the Code Blue experience.


“We felt the need for a different mode especially in those cases where the ET tube has been in for 30 days, the state has deemed a contracted DIB full code, or the 90-year-old on the floor has begun the process of rigor mortis.  I mean, why allow staff to get compassion fatigued while breaking ribs?” said Lane.

When a potential SCM is needed, the unit secretary dials three sixes instead of the traditional four zeros to the hospital operator.  Instead of the loud, offensive and tension causing Code Blue tones, harp music in D major plays softly overhead.

“I love this tone,” said anesthesiologist Chris Donnoley.  “I can wake up slowly without any fear of judgment.  I can gather supplies I might need instead of depending on crude RSI kits that may likely be covered in cobwebs.”

As the code cart is gently slid into the room, the Zoll is placed into SCM.   A built-in diffuser on top of the zoll aerosols Ativan throughout the room, thus decreasing the usual craziness of a traditional code.  “The adrenaline junkies stop in their tracks!” said Reid.

Once the house ferret is present, the Keurig at the back of the zoll brews hot coffee for the Code Team after the code.  “Our house ferret, Kevin, is so smart.  He even pours the coffee!” said RT Tony Blanco.

If a shock is indicated, 25 millijoules fire once.  Subsequent shocks decrease by half.  The unit janitor gives compressions in a 10:1-ish ratio.

Family is encouraged to stay and docs take turns hugging them and having discussions on quality of life.  This has been shown to improve Press Ganey scores the most, instead of breaking ribs.

Hospital administrators couldn’t be happier.  What once took thirty workers off the floor, now only takes three, thereby decreasing staffing needs.  “The slow mode code has really saved us a ton of money with decreased medical expenses, improved Press Ganey scores, and increased production from staff not getting bogged down in a 30-minute code.  Win-win!  We fully support the Slow Code Mode.”

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