Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Wasn't Expecting a Dead Body

Pic from Dukelabs.com
I was debating which subject I wanted to blog about tonight. I had a few rough drafts sitting idly by while I read the latest news articles from Drudge, Google News, etc.

My Droid's battery was in the red so I decided to plug it in for a charge and head down to the Emergency Room for a bit. You know, cause I do all this blogging on my phone. I certainly wouldn't do it on a company computer. Anyway, along my path, I was paged overhead. Nothing unusual about that.

A quick shout out to the ER desk and I was informed my assistance was needed in Room One. Room One is our trauma room and most likely I was being summoned to help with chest compressions. A perk of being one of the few bigger guys on the night shift. There could be five EMT's standing around that just brought the patient to our hospital, but it's me and a bodybuilder from Respiratory that get to pump on chests.

Anyway, to my surprise, I wasn't needed for chest compressions at all. Nope. I was needed because three little female nurses were given the task of "boxing the big guy". Boxing as in put the obese dead patient into the cold box until the mortuary guys get here at 8am.

Now, I've known somebody had to do this job. People die in hospitals every day. Somebody has to secure the body in the morgue until the mortuary people come and get them. I just never thought I'd be the one to do it. It NEVER crossed my mind...at all.

So the bodybuilder and I are looking at each other. This body was over 400 pounds (that's where our scale stopped). Of course he had NO sheets underneath him to help move him around. The little nurses were reading the instructions, I kid you not, that came in a "kit". These instructions, as she explained to us, included rolling the patient on his side so that we could place a body bag under him. We also had to insert a large absorbant pad, almost the full length of the gurney.

We found two security guards and the four of us rolled this man on his side. I won't go into details about what was under or coming out of this body. I will say, however, that this was not in my job duties AND I had just eaten my share of pizza (one of our security guards was called to deploy in Kuwait so we had a little send off party).

Ours was like this but a little bigger...a little.
We finally got the body in the bag and he was so large that we couldn't zip it up. We covered him with a sheet so we could transport him down the hall to the box room. Then it got difficult.

Picture a full size refrigerator placed flat on the ground. Instead of a door in the traditional place, the small end (or top of the fridge) was the door. We had to get the big guy in lengthwise from a gurney into the cooler. Again, not in my skill set.

Long story short, what normally holds two bodies...could now only hold one. We had to take the middle "shelf" out to make more room. If there was a wrong way of placing a person in this thing, we surely did it. Several minutes later, profusely sweating, we closed it up and walked away.

The last thing I was expecting tonight was to see a dead body..let alone have to move it around, bag it up, and get it into a large ice box.

If you're looking for that one last little excuse to go on a diet because you are overweight, consider the healthcare workers that will have to put your big butt in an ice box after your demise. And they may have just had pizza. I almost had mine twice...



  1. Or how 'bout when you're 50 years old and you need 4 people just to get you out of BED for the day.

    "Bariatric" ain't what it used to be...

  2. I just wanted to say, "Thank you" for being there to do what most of us would not (or should have to do with the morbidly obese)!

    In our present economic situation in this country job descriptions seem to be getting more flexible all the time.

  3. Ummm..... reading with the flu was bad. Of course I write some lovely serial killer stuff but for some reason you upped my queasy this morning.

  4. Did he have any gold teeth? I mean, you and the security guys were entitled to a little tip for going above and beyond, and gold is up around 1700 an ounce last I checked.
    My kids told me some Rap guy was buried in a piano crate he was so big. His name was "Big Pun". I know this because my kids used to kid me about my diet, and tell me I need a "Big Pun" burger.

  5. Thank you for doing what is basically a thankless job, even tho it wasn't in your job description.

    Doesn't your hospital have the 'chair & a half' sized chairs in the waiting areas? How about over sized wheelchairs? Are the beds prominently marked "rated for x number of pounds (usually 400)? My husband gets his medical care thru the VA and we found all these, and more weight related items, in all the facilities he has been in. Even found the over sized chairs in a private cardiologist's office. Enough said.

  6. My mom spent 20 years as an ER nurse, then 10 more as a travelling ER nurse. Thanks for helping out the nurses.

    I guess they'll have to make bigger bags and coolers to comply with fatass ADA requirements now.

  7. Wow, was it a sausage Pizza? Just Kidding.

    At least you had some help.

  8. Yuck. For some reason I always imagined hospitals having some kind of pallet jack type forklift thing they could use.

    Just Yuck.

  9. maybe design one just for that PP.. the lipidlifter..

    Some cases it is a true medical issue causing such weight troubles.. most however, are not.

    OJD.. funny post. Glad you kept the pizza down. I hope that was a rare event. Maybe next time get one of those things you can put under couches and cabinets to scoot them along. (kidding) well sorta...

  10. Reminds me of my college days as an undergraduate and postgraduate medical student. Life was tough, maybe almost as bad as a soldier in Iraq! Always on the go, usually hollered at by seniors.. a thankless miserable time...but great experience...we did not realize the importance of the work we did in those times. But boy, that helped build the basics of our medical knowledge as a doc today.


Don't you spam me...I'll just delete it!