15 February 2018 (Thursday) - Code Red...

I have often said that working in the hospital blood bank can be described as hours of tedium interspersed by moments of stark panic. “Code Red”, “Major Haemorrhage Protocol”, “Brown Alert”… call it what you will, but when that emergency bleep goes off, only those who’ve had to answer it can understand the feeling.

I had three such emergencies today. Having had a practice at dealing with a major bleed last Friday, today was rather interesting. We had:
  • A hitherto unknown case with G.I. bleed and Hb 31
  • A patient with known blood group with threatened miscarriage and major PV bleed 
  • A patient with ongoing bleeding having presented as a code red two days ago 
The first two presented within five minutes of each other (!)

For all that I followed the protocol, none of he cases really did. Each was different. One was utterly unknown to us. One had a historical blood group but no current findings. One had had full screening done yesterday. All used quite a bit of blood; all made me think.
I was impressed at how calm and placid the emergencies went… For all that I will still dread future calamities of this sort, I learned a lot from the first-hand experience of today…

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