Kate McVeigh RN Hey there! Yeah, I think I have a minute

Kate McVeigh

RN

Hey there! Yeah, I think I have a minute or two to talk about the derailment. Wow. It’s crazy. I guess that’s been a while, but it still feels like it just happened. It’s all so vivid!

I was on shift when it happened, so I was here for the whole thing. The blast, the first few injuries, and then the wave. I think I was working for 16 hours before Heather, the former head nurse, told me to leave before I passed out.

I just remember a big jumble. We had waves of people coming in before we were really aware of what we were up against. Someone actually brought out the disaster plan but it was kind of useless. Just a bunch of words about using resources wisely and what have you, no concrete steps or plan. And then people started pouring in and we started treating them and there just wasn’t time to figure out how to make that stuff about using resources wisely into an actual, concrete plan. I mean, of course it’s good advice to use your damned resources wisely in an emergency! But just saying that doesn’t help. Without a plan, we were just working our way through a line, or really more like a crowd, without any thought of triage or priorities or anything. You knew as you were doing it that it was bad, but what could you do? There was always a next person to help.

You know what would have been useful in that damn disaster plan? Strict, functional checklists and lists of steps and such. Concrete plans for a chain of command. Clear lists of what to do and what our priorities should have been. And I’m just talking doctor and nurse time here, as far as waste goes. I know we had critical problems with supplies and such, but I was too focused on patient care to really know what was going on there.

OK. I have to go do rounds. Good luck. Yikes. I’m all anxious just thinking about that again.