RALEIGH, NC – It’s one of the those scary scenarios every health care professional has faced at one time or another in their medical career: The box of latex gloves in your size is empty, what do you do? Today medium-handed nurse Erica Farnsworth saw there were no more medium gloves. Did she panic? No. She persevered.
“I watched her from a distance, and it was truly awe-inspiring,” explained charge nurse Andrea Jones. “She saw there were no mediums but without even blinking an eye she grabbed two small gloves, put them on, hiding the exquisite pain she must have been experiencing from placing medium-sized hands into small latex gloves, knocked on the door, and went into the patient’s room to continue business as usual.”
Glove-wearing experts say this “glove dilemma” has gone unsolved for centuries. Finding another box of the right-sized gloves expends unnecessary time and energy. However, the alternatives are not great either: risk critical hand ischemia by choking off hands with an undersized hand-shaped tourniquet, or fall victim to bodily fluid exposure when a simple breeze blows off oversized gloves.
“I had to get in there and give my patient his medications, it is my duty,” Farnsworth told her now adoring fans. “Going in barehanded seemed too risky. Going in large gloved seemed idiotic. When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. I didn’t think I could make lemonade with small latex gloves, so I wore them.”
Farnsworth admitted her life flashed before her eyes as the tight gloves squeezed all of the blood out of her fingers, hands, all the way up to her elbows, effectively causing Farnsworth compartment syndrome. She cites her strong upbringing by her parents and the love from her family and friends that gave her the ability to “fight through” and “persevere.”
After 5 minutes, Farnsworth came out of the patient room. An on-call hand surgeon surgically removed the small latex gloves. Though Farnsworth is in the ICU, she is doing well and expected to transfer to the floor later today.