I never thought I would write a topic on asking for help. But my experience recently made me realize that we need to emphasize asking for help in our training whether you are in school or in practice.
Let me tell you the story first. I was giving lunch breaks to the providers. All of the sudden, I heard in the overhead that “Anesthesia in ORxx”. That’s it. It didn’t sound there was an urgency but I went in anyway. It was a hip surgery and patient was in lateral position. Typical hip: spinal, and MAC with propofol. The patient had an OPA in place, and the provider in training attempted masking patient but was futile. There was no ventilation. The OPA was half way out when masking the patient, and there was no reading on SpO2. Heart rate at that time was 17. Patient is obese with the typical OSA profile: thick neck and big head. Surgeons and circulators realized the severity of the situation. Drapes were already down, CPR was about to be initiated. No attention was paid to mask ventilate the patient by the provider in training. CPR was initiated when intubation was attempted. Patient was successfully intubated and resuscitated after 100mcg of epi was administered. All of the clinical signs indicated hypoxia induced cardiac arrest. This is clearly reversible.
The point of this case is that calling for help in a timely manner. Do not hesitate to ask for help! People would never fault you for calling for help. They would actually feel more comfortable with you when they know you are not afraid of calling for help. Because they know you are a safe provider.
I remember when I was fresh out of training with my first job, I was in a MAC case. The room was dark with no light. Patient’s SpO2 started to drop from 100% to 90%. I couldn’t figure out why. I called the person in charge of the board. Of course, it was a simple fix. The oxygen tubing got disconnected. I felt so embarrassed by my not paying attention-to-detail. However, the person-in-charge told me that he was happy that I called for help. He said that is the most important skill to have as a safe provider.
Again, asking for help early and have a fresh mind often times can get you out of trouble if there is a true crisis.