Freaky Hospital Stories

by Christine
(Alabama)

I have been an RN in many hospitals usually working the night shift, because they paid more and fit my schedule better with a small child and husband in graduate school.

So, most people are scared of hospitals because a lot of people die in them. Also lots of blood, needles and equipment but the lights never go OFF. Maybe in the individual rooms, but not in the hallways, departments or nursing stations. And in very big hospitals the overhead paging systems stays on 24hrs with soft Muzax and pages.

In smaller hospitals they try to only use the paging system in an extreme emergency especially with cellphones in everybodies hand. But I always worked in the ICUs or departments where a patient was dying they were going fast and I had to get that doctor there, so you called the operator or pushed a button and call a "code" (everybody has seen ER). I know I'm rambling but the paging system is the scary part.

One night I was working on a step-down floor where patients went when they came out of ICU and were getting better. I live in the south and it was tornado season; thunder and lightning, winds whipping around and the rain was hitting the windows like ice. Now hospitals have backup generators when the electricity gets interrupted but it takes a second or two to kick back on and not all areas of the hospital come back immediately, like the PHONES and the LIGHTS in the hallways.

Well out go the lights, complete silence, generator kicking on, emergency lights on, phones on, immediate code called overhead to a room around the corner. All this took less than 3-4 seconds. It takes more time to pick up the phone and call the code than all that put together. One minute later another code was called to that same room. Okay the first was weird now this is weirder and what the hell is going on? So since I was an ICU nurse that was working on the step-down (pulled) I trotted over to see what the fuss was.

All the ICUs and step-downs are connected. I turned that corner and the hallway was a giant traffic jam. Nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, equipment were everywhere. Apparently a patient had coded during the storm and was not noticed on the monitor until the lights came back. As soon as the crash cart got there, his wife decided that would be a grand time to go ahead and try to die also. They were both successful.

But it was so strange. Like the Grim Reaper flew out of that storm and sucked both of those poor souls up and away they went. He must have had to reach a quota to reach. Or a Higher Power needed to show us our complacency and slapped us on the wrist for being jaded. Or the nurse was a moron. Or maybe it was just weird. I don't know. But this was talked about for awhile. Even passing that room on your way to work kinda gave you the creeps, and already being a RN for 12 years I had seen many people die, young and old, natural and unnatural.

After a while the story faded and became a tale told to new nurses to try to stay awake on the night shift after their scavenger hunt in the ER for a nasal trumpet, a duck and a swan!

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