Monday, July 5, 2010
I had only been working at Sunnybrook for one week when I heard my first “code blue” being announced over the hospital’s speaker system. Someone was having a cardiac arrest. In the brief time it took me to finish a few sips of tea and my next story pitch, a life could be saved, or lost. That’s how quickly you have to act in these “do or die” scenarios.
It’s no wonder many healthcare providers call code blues the most terrifying of resuscitations. They have to act quickly and be ready for anything. And that’s exactly what an award-winning course, taught here at Sunnybrook, hopes to prepare the whole healthcare team for.
It’s called ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), and Sunnybrook has one of the biggest training programs in Ontario for this international course. Over three days, participants are thrown into the fire, practicing on mannequins to either lead a team through countless codes or help out with others. It’s intense, and extremely effective.
One of the participants, a radiology resident named Michael, met with me before and after the course. No longer a medical student, he knew more responsibility, including a rotation in emergency, was coming. He went from feeling “unsure” on Friday night to “competent” on Sunday morning. That’s quite a weekend transformation!
Now when I hear a code blue called, it’s no longer a mysterious emergency happening somewhere in the hospital. I can visualize the team coming together, thanks to the intensive training to prepare for that moment. Practice makes perfect, they say. And in this case, it also helps save lives.
For more information on the ACLS program, click here