I think last night was the first night I have seen literally everyone I work with lose their cool at the same time. The beginning of the shift was crazy, but we were managing- I was managing hall beds and two intubated patients, one of my coworkers had 7 rooms, another had 5 including an ICU hold- but we all kept our cool. The shift died down, we started drinking coffee and seeing Level 4s and 5s. Then it freaking happened.
Unbeknowst to me, a man walks up to the triage nurse and simply says, " I have a baby to drop off." She and the medic up front walk outside to his van to find an newborn bundled in a sheet, covered in afterbirth, blood, and crap, and still attached to the MFing placenta.
I'm chilling at the nurses station when I hear someone screaming for the doctor. That doesn't even happen when someone codes here. I look up to see my charge nurse running with a baby in a bloody blanket back to my room. He sets him down as the doc looks at him and we rush around like crazy trying to find the OB tray and try to learn how to use the dusty old warmer in the corner. Doc clamps and cuts the cords and warms the baby, we wrap him up and toss him in the warmer. He's pink, breathing, and crying, but everyone is still visibly shaken. We try desperately to get vitals on the little guy- his O2 sat kind of blows but the baby warming gear we have in the ER isn't exactly state of the art.
Newborn nursery comes down and checks him out- he's a little underweight and jittery and hungry but otherwise fine. Cute as can be. I think we all just wanted to pick him up and hold him as soon as we realized he wasn't broken, but he really needed to stay in the warmer. Nursery took him upstairs to correct his low blood sugar, and we stood around and tried to sort out the mess.
Do we need to report this to someone? Who? What the hell are you supposed to do with the placenta? Does it go in the biohazard waste? The sharps? Huh? We actually had to call L&D, who called the doc who wanted it sent to lab for tissue samples, so they had to bring me a plastic bucket to put it in. Meanwhile housekeeping is super pissed at me because I've left a tray full of placenta in the room, but I have no idea where else it should go at this point. On a related note- how does anyone eat that? It looks like a jellyfish covered in blood. Then I had to call the lab and ask if there was a special window to drop off womb squid, or if I'm just supposed to leave it on the counter like I do blood. I don't think they much appriciated my questions, but i do not do this everyday.
After the initital shock, I just got kind of sad. I hope he finds a good home- he was a perfect little baby boy that so many people would love to have. It just bums me out to think of him in the nursery, surrounded by other little babies with families all alone. Not that he'll really know since he's a newborn, but I hope the staff gives him extra love. Oddly, it made me kind of excited for the day that I have kids in how immediately I felt connected to the baby. I can only imagine it must be a hundred fold when you have your own kids, and it makes you wonder what kind of person could give something like that up like they were dropping off an old sofa. In a sad way, that's probably the best thing that mother ever did for her baby.