"Cops hate that answer," he says. "They will scream at you." But the public has to feel they can trust the hospital. Or the next time they need help but have the wrong sort of chemical in the bloodstream, they'll play it safe to avoid jail, stay at home, and die.
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They're also discreet about injuries that are embarrassing but legal.
Meanwhile, if you're in the hospital when worse comes to worst ...
Resuscitation Doesn't Look Like It Does On TV
As we've mentioned before, the first crucial difference between CPR as done on a TV hospital drama versus real life is that the latter is far more violent. If done right, you're going to break ribs -- you're trying to compress the heart through a cage made of bone. In a movie or TV show they're doing gentle compressions as not to abuse the actor or stunt person; that's why they're able to do things like give chest compressions to a patient on a stretcher. That doesn't happen in real life. Stretchers are too flimsy -- you'd just be bending the stretcher and watching it bounce back while the patient remains unchanged and quietly dies.
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If you're doing it in an ambulance, your goal is to have it banging like a low-rider.
The force involved is also hugely tiring on the nurse, which makes it impossible to keep up for an extended length of time. "You are trying to compress the chest about an inch and a half in," says Ben. "After compressing someone for two minutes, you are drained. Do that for five more rounds, and your back and arms are practically useless." In the hospital, they don't even do compressions by hand most of the time. They start off by hand, but then they pass the job off to the chest-squeezing robot. And if that seems too impersonal for your sexy nurse fantasy, here's more bad news: Nurses don't do mouth-to-mouth. That's pointless compared to chest stuff, and the chance of you throwing up into their mouth is too high.
But, really, getting felt up by a killer robot is the ultimate fantasy.
When patients flatline, nurses don't reach for those shock pads. The defibrillator resets an irregular pulse; it can't restart a stopped one. But they try plenty of other procedures -- they don't give up in 30 seconds like on television and start sobbing about how "it never gets easier!" They'll put in an IV. They'll drill a hole into the bone for more meds. They won't call a death before at least 15 minutes pass without a heartbeat.
And, surprisingly, nurses want family members in the room during this whole process, despite all the infection and interference you'd think they'd bring. "Families that are watching stay the hell out of your way," Ben explains. "They don't want to be a distraction; they want you at the peak of your game just as much as you do. They are not at all critical. Yes, they are crying and emotional about the situation, but when they can actually see you go for 30 minutes trying to resuscitate their loved one, they only have respect for you."
Ryan Menezes is an editor and interviewer here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter for stuff cut from articles and other things no one should see.
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