In our hospital when a trauma happens, a page is sent through the system to a team. Chaplains are part of the rapid response team so our on-call chaplain gets the page and responds within 5-10 minutes to the scene. The same team responds to cardiac arrests and visitors who fall unconscious unexpectedly on the campus.
Because our hospital campus includes several buildings over several city blocks, it can take time to arrive to a trauma. It may take effort to leave a conversation that you’re in as a spiritual caregiver, for instance. A doctor may need to leave a patient’s room immediately. A nurse may need to grab a crisis cart and place some things in the hands of a colleague.
Some trauma calls turn out to be seizures, relatively bland events for the amount of resources “coming at a person” when the page is called. Still, being a part of a rapid response assumes a readiness to encounter the worst. It assumes that we’re prepared to stick around and labor through what’s next.
A family who’s grieving demonstrably. A patient who is unaccompanied and whose chest is being pumped, whose ribs are being broken. Being there assumes that we’ll see and that’ll we’ll do our work. That we’ll be steady.
It is its own walk of faith, responding to those traumas. You know and don’t know what you’ll see. Being steady is a hard job when pain is winning. How do you keep yourself steady? How do you see the traumas unfold and still show up?