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Crisis Phase - The ER                                    Jump to  Crisis Phase - ICU

 The Emergency Room

The main focus for the staff in the ER is to stabilize the patient.  The doctors and nurses work under intense pressure and stress to try to identify the injuries and then stabilize the patient so they can go on to other treatment if necessary.  They worry about assuring a clear airway, stopping any bleeding, and identifying any internal injuries.  With all of the stress and emotion, the ER experience may be just a blur when you look back on this tragic event. 

What To Expect


 You are probably overwhelmed just by being called to the ER and facing the uncertainty of your loved one being injured.  Then, most ER’s do not let you have much access to the patient immediately which is even more unsettling.  Be prepared to wait without much information.  

 The staff is busy doing their best to help your loved one but you may not hear from them until they feel they have your loved one stabilized.  Keep checking in and let the staff know you want to go back with your loved one as soon as possible.

Controlled Chaos


Be prepared.  If you see the ER team come together to work on a critical patient it looks like a swarm of bees.  There are doctors and nurses everywhere and everyone seems to be talking all at once.  There is however a method to the chaos you may see in the ER.  Each person has a task and they work together to take the best possible care of the patient.  Then, just as quickly, the swarm of doctors and nurses disperses and moves on to the next person.

Tips From One Family to the Other

When the Chaplain Meets You


When our daughter was injured it happened that my wife was out shopping with some other family members and she and the others arrived at the ER at the same time as I did.  Our group was met by a chaplain and escorted to a room away from the general waiting area.  There we were told we could call any other family members.

At the time, we thought it was a nice gesture and just happenstance that the chaplain had met us.  Now we know that it was actually part of the plan the hospital had in place.  It seems that the seriousness of our daughter’s injuries had set their plan in motion.   The chaplain provided comfort, an interface with the medical staff and along with the extra privacy and some extra care and attention.  It was very welcome and very helpful.

Do take advantage of the Chaplain's office services.  Even after we made our daughter's religious preference known, the other Chaplains from all of the various faiths continued to visit Ashleigh and were of great comfort to us.

 Call Your Family

If you are fortunate enough to have family nearby, take advantage of the waiting period and call your family to come join you.  Besides the obvious care and support your family can provide they can also help you remember more of the details you hear or ask questions you may not think of.  With all of the stress and worry you probably will not be thinking clearly and won’t be able to take it all in.  The doctors may ask just to speak with the parents or the spouse but we ended up just having the doctors address the whole family.  This eliminated us trying to remember everything that was said and relaying it to the family.     


                                                      Continue to  Crisis Phase - The Intensive Care Unit


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