Originally posted January 9, 2009
As many of you may know, I am a Registered Respiratory Therapist. I work in a 60 bed community hospital and am responsible for the respiratory care of a diverse patient population...from the preterm babies to the aged. This requires the ability to respond to intensive care, critical care, neonatal and pediatric emergencies where my role is, simply put, is to maintain the patient's airway through a variety of therapeutic modalities. Additionally, being part of a small, but state of the art facility, means there are only 2 of us scheduled for any given shift.
We are now in "respiratory" season. At this time of year there is an increase in admissions due to Community Acquired Pneumonia (CAP), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma exacerbation, etc. This makes for very busy shifts. This past weekend it appeared that every admission was one requiring the service and care our department provides. It's a good thing I enjoy my work!
RSV is a particularly vicious infection in the compromised patient population. This is especially true for premature infants. It is not uncommon to be called to the Emergency Department due to a "blue baby" in transport. These infants sometimes require intubation, respiratory resuscitation and transfer to a larger facility with a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The reason for this is that their airways are just too tiny and are easily occluded due to the amount of secretions this virus produces.
The above actually sums up what my day was like yesterday. Despite all of that, I love my job and feel God has put me exactly where I am needed: to provide compassionate care and prayers for the weak and infirm.