In the fourth year of medical school and we are required to complete an “intern prep course” that involves a lot of simulation cases. It was in our trauma simulation that I learned that the ABCDE‘s of trauma in the fourth year are quite different from the ones I learned in third year.
This is what I learned in third year:
A is for Arrive. When the pager rings the med students are the first one to arrive after they have flown down eight flights of stairs. But how else would the trauma attending know that you were even present? Spoiler alert, they don’t care.
B is for a Blanket. You need to find the blanket warmer and pull that bad boy out because there’s nothing that patients complain about more than being cold when three of their limbs are broken and they’re bleeding internally.
C is for Catheter. There’s no better time to get that urinary catheter checked off your list than during a trauma. No one is watching while you have no clue how to maintain sterility. And no one sees you struggle to find the urethra on a female. Bonus points if you get blood return and you freaked out thinking that you injured something on your patient and then realize you probably should’ve checked that before placing the catheter in the first place.
D is for Disability. So technically this is the same as the ABCDs I now know, but last year the disability was what was going on with the students, not the patient. After getting the warm blanket and putting in the catheter, there comes a time when you realize that you don’t know where any of the critical supplies are and you don’t know what to do next so you just sit there dumbfounded in the corner trying to figure out what’s going on.
E is for Escape. After being useless in the corner for long enough you realize that your best chance of not making a fool of yourself in front of the trauma attending you’re already invisible to is just getting out of the room. So you back out slowly and then you return to your spot in
the call room, awaiting the next trauma stat page.