Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dog in the ER


I am hallucinating. That couldn’t be a dog who just went through the revolving door of the ER and is now just outside my triage booth. No way!

The Waiting Room in the ER was quiet; at 3am, only the sickest of the sick venture out, and most come via ambulance. Adrienne had finished triage for all her waiting patients, and now the waiting room is like a ghost town with just a few family members staring blankly at the plasma tv screen.

Adrienne prefers being in the middle of the action in the Cardiac and Trauma Room. With nothing to do at External Triage, she was trying to stay awake through the questions for her nursing certification review. The coffee didn’t help; the words swam before her eyes.

“Woof! Woof!” The insistent barks pierced through her consciousness.

I’m not hallucinating. It really is a dog!

“Hi Adrienne! Is that your dog right outside your booth? ” The clerk came back from his break and saw the little Yorkshire terrier.

“Bill, I don’t know whose dog this is. I just saw him go through the door, right at the time when a patient’s family member went through.”

“Really? Are we accepting dogs now in our ER?”

Curious, Adrienne got out of her booth. A dog lover, she felt comfortable enough to approach the strange dog with the puppy eyes. The dog’s blue-black and tan coat was silky and appeared well-groomed; obviously not a stray dog. The dog whimpered as if in pain, and he shifted his weight off his right leg. Adrienne squatted down in front of the terrier who accepted a pat on the head.

Bill’s inquiries with the occupants of the waiting room were met with more blank stares. The dog didn’t belong to them.

Adrienne noticed streaks of blood trailing from the ER entrance to where the dog was sitting. Lifting the dog’s right paw, the triage nurse saw a piece of glass sticking out from the lateral aspect of the terrier’s right paw.

There was no other choice but to bring the dog to Fast Track. The medical resident on duty took one look; not his usual patient but he ushered the dog to a patient bed. Surprisingly, the terrier appeared to accept all their ministrations with just a soft whimper, but did not attempt to bite anybody. Two physician assistants held the dog as the medical resident pulled the offending glass.A quick wound clean-up was followed by a bandage on the dog’s paw.

Maybe as a thank you, the dog licked the hands of everybody in Fast Track. He happily accepted a piece of Adrienne’s hamburger.

Bill later reported that he could not find the dog’s owners either outside the ER ramp and entrance. The administrator volunteered to notify ASPCA, as soon as office hours open in the morning. Several nurses and PAs volunteered to take the dog home while the owner is being located.

The nurses named the dog Andrew in honor of the medical resident who removed the glass on the dog’s paw. Andrew the dog went home with a physician assistant. Sadly for Rochelle’s three young kids, the dog was reunited with the owner three days later.

Based on a true story.

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