Last night at work came within a hair’s breadth of getting far more interesting than usual.
I was paged overhead to the resuscitation room. As I ran down the hallway, as I got closer to the room, the air carried a very strong scent of something burning. This is never a good thing in the middle of the night in the ER.
I came around the corner and into the resus room to find a little one with difficulty breathing. The smell of burning was even stronger in the room than in the hallway outside, so one of my first thoughts was “house fire?” but the family only looked confused when asked and denied that they’d been anywhere near anything burning. It’s been far too cold to be at a bonfire, so I crossed that off my list, but the smell still worried me, and it certainly wasn’t helping with the little one’s breathing problems.
Finally one of our security guards came by the room and beckoned to me. He was trying to track down the smell, and it has been narrowed down to this small hallway. I told him that my patient had not been in a house fire, so he went into the other rooms on the hallway.
He immediately came back from the next room over.
Our medication fridge had been arcing from the element on its back and throwing sparks. “Arcing from the element TO WHAT?” “Oh…to the oxygen tank that was leaning up against it. It’s unplugged now, and I moved the oxygen tank to the other side of the room.”
I had just about the entire staff of the ED in that resuscitation at that moment. If that oxygen tank had blown… Talk about “living in interesting times”.