“Teamwork makes the dream work!”
One of the trainers for my summer internship always says this, and recently, I got to witness teamwork in action on a difficult case. We had a patient come into emergency as a result of being bitten by a much larger dog. He was stable, bright and alert, and was cleaned up and drains were placed while the patient was under anesthesia. We kept a close eye on the patient as he recovered, and it was soon clear that something was wrong as the color began to slowly drain from his gums and we observed an episode of bloody diarrhea. We placed an ECG on to monitor, and moments later, he abruptly stopped breathing. The team sprang into action, calmly but swiftly grabbing the necessary lifesaving equipment needed. I was impressed and mesmerized by their ability to come together so quickly and efficiently, and I could feel my eyes wanting to fill with tears as I watched them, overwhelmed by their solidarity and communication as they worked to save this patient’s life. That is exactly what they did, too, as his heart began beating again, but the outlook was still grim. The chances for this patient to crash again had been increased. Abdominal radiographs were taken, and to our complete amazement, this small dog had a Gastric Dilation Volvulus. This unexpected finding had us scratching our heads since he presented with no clinical signs for GDV. We also discovered the patient was suffering from hemoabdomen. After discussing the poor prognosis for the dog with owners, they elected for euthanasia.
Although this case did not have a happy ending, I still reminisce about the harmony among this team of veterinary staff and it motivates me to be a better team mate.