When Patients Code in Scanners

Patients code in diagnostic scanners.

I know this because in my three short years as a nurse, two of my own have done it. I guess you can say that is a pretty low percentage, but to me (and my fellow nurses out there), it is two too many.

We’ve been with our “high-risk” monitored patients thousands of times to tests. What makes this one, the one where they code, different? I’ll tell you. It is different because this time you know nothing will happen. This time you let the technicians wheel the patient into the room and put them on the table. You lean up against the wall and close your eyes for a second.

That is all it takes: Just the thought of thinking everything is ok.

You tell the tech to call a code. Chest compressions.

Luckily the scanner is just steps from ED where hundreds (it seems) of eager interns and residents come running.

Even though we get the patient back with little to no complications, the





We will never forget the sinking feeling of knowing our patient is coding. Out of the room. With no one you know around to help.

But the story keeps us talking. It reminds us the next time to put the traveling monitor on the patient even if we know they will be right back. It reminds us to tell new nurses to never stop being on edge– not even for a second. Because that is when the worst happens.

And so we stay attentive. Always.

3 Comments on “When Patients Code in Scanners

  1. The mother of one of my close friends died in a CT scanner. They couldn’t revive her.

    My friend was devastated because her mother died alone. She’d already lost her father, and is an only child. My friend would have been at the hospital but was under the impression her mother’s condition was stable.

  2. Yes. I vowed I would never leave the floor with a patient again.. and then was back in radiology yesterday!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *