My First Code

Hello everyone! Well, it finally happened I experienced a code for the first time! Unfortunately, the patient did not make it due to a slew of medical history (including severe CAD and massive heart attack). Keep reading if you are interested…

My First Code

  • Sunday day shift @1530

The unit was pretty silent. There was nothing happening, until this patient entered the the floor from the ICU. The nurse who transferred the patient brought them into their room. The floor I am on for my first rotation is a medical telemetry floor, meaning every patient is on a monitor that the monitor room around the corner observes 24/7. The monitor room called and sure enough the patient was in V-Tach. My nurse and I ran into the room, along with the attending who started compression. The charge nurse told the secretary to call a code because the patient had no pulse.

  • So it begins…

Other nurses, respiratory therapists, medical students, and residents rushed into the room, some lining up for compressions. Meanwhile outside the room, pharmacy stood ready to provide whatever medications were needed. A nurse stood with them to draw up all meds, another nurse stood in the corner of the room documenting what was happening.

While all this is going on compressions are still happening, and the patient was being intubated.  Shocks were delivered at 200. This whole cycle of compressions, breaths, med push, shocks and checking for pulses continued for about twenty one minutes. I also was the “donkey” and retrieved whatever the team needed. I will say I was very impressed by how calm the nurses and respiratory therapists were, but was very amused with the younger medical students.

  • “We have a pulse!”

For about 5 seconds, a very faint pulse was found but disappeared. Around this time the patient began to track with their eyes, locked eyes with one nurse. You could see the terror in the patients eyes for the few seconds they bought them back. The patient passed with his eyes locked on the nurse…

  • Time of death.

One resident requested an ultrasound machine and looked at the heart while compressions were going and “nothing was going on”. He also looked at the patients’ femoral artery which was non-pulsatile. The resident running the code asked for ideas, no one had any so the time of death was pronounced. This was the patients’ second massive heart attack in a month and their terrible CAD did not help.

  • Post-mortem care.

I also had the rare opportunity to help with postmortem care. It was not as bad as it seems, but I will admit it was strange to clean the body, tag it and place it in a body bag.


Overall, I enjoyed the faster pace for that short span of time. I thought I would have been frightened, but surprisingly remained calm and observed everything that was happening. Maybe I am stronger than what I think…

2 thoughts on “My First Code

  1. Wow, it sounds like the situation was handled well by all, which probably was extra helpful for being your first code. My first one is something I’m definitely anxious about (who knows when it may happen). I feel that you’ve written about your experience with professionalism and honesty. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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