The first CPR I performed was as a House Officer in UCH, Ibadan.
I was on call that night on the surgical wards and scheduled to give the medication to patients at 6am. They were not wards I was used to or had patients in, but giving IV drugs does not require that information.
You were supposed to go in, check with the nurses on duty for those scheduled for medication, check for the availability of the said medication, draw it into the syringe and pray to God that the IV line was patent. (if you know, you know!)
Simple right? It usually is. And I did not expect anything different.
Was I wrong!
Nothing happened until the last point at around 6:30 -7am. I got to the ward, checked with the nurse and proceeded to the patient. As I got closer, I noticed he was a young boy of around 12yrs lying at an incline on the bed. A woman, who I presumed was his mother was beside him. Her head was bowed.
I patted her shoulder and asked how he was. She said “fine”. I looked to the boy and something seemed off. He didn’t seem to be breathing. I felt for his pulse. Nothing! I got my stethoscope which was around my neck and listened for breath sounds and then heart sounds. Nothing!
I quickly started chest compressions.
Remember, I said he was lying at an incline? All I remember was the Snr Reg from a surgical team doing early morning (or late night!) rounds came to the bed and pulled the boy down so he would be flat. I had forgotten in in the rush of adrenaline!
I did compressions for a long time and if I tell you anything else that happened during that time it would be a lie because it was all a blur of activity.
Others came to join and the Registrar and Senior Registrar for the patient’s care were called and came to assist. The boy’s pulse became palpable but he did not regain consciousness. The boy was soon transferred to the ICU for critical care by his care team.
When the boy was wheeled off, I remember going to the office block of the Consultants (it wasn’t an easy choice to be walking around during office hours in UCH while in jeans and a sleeveless top even with a ward coat) but I had to do it.
I had to tell my Consultant that I would be late for the morning rounds that morning. I can still his face while I was excitedly telling him all that had happened. He had a half smile as if to say “you have just started”.
I never followed up on the boy to see how he fared or if he survived. I couldn’t.