Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Point Five Club

For me working the ER is not actually a new experience, it is more returning to my roots.  Back in Med School days we all did ER rotations, and I seem to recall doing a few extra and enjoying them quite a bit.  If you want to see some action, go to where the action is.

In one urban ER I rotated through there was a special room set aside for the dangerously intoxicated.  Not the kind that were drunk and mean, the kind who had consumed so much alcohol that they might stop breathing.  They had a special room with the then novel innovation of a video camera keeping them under continuous observation.

The was called the Point Five Club.  Let me explain.  In theory if your blood alcohol is 0.5% you will die.  If you are a binge drinking college spring breaker this is very true.  I in fact have seen comatose teens down around 0.4%.  But for the "experienced" drinker, which is much of the regular ER clientele, 0.5% might not be a problem.

Still, a potentially fatal alcohol level earned the patient a special berth, and for reasons unknown it was felt that the resident or medical student who took care of the patient deserved a bit of recognition as well.

So outside the observation room there was a clip board.  If you found a patient with a blood alcohol of 0.5% or more he (never saw a she..) would be put into the observation bay until sobriety put the hammer down in a few hours. got to enter onto the clip board your name, the patient's name, and a few clinical observations.

My favorite was: "Alcohol level 0.52%.  Singing Home, Home on the Range.  Knows all four verses."

Ah, long ago times.  Back when intoxication was still a little humorous and medical confidentiality rules were much laxer. 

This was thirty some years ago, so I am quite sure that none of the Point Fivers I cared for are still living.

And for future reference any "war stories" I tell will also be of non-recent events, and will have sufficient details blurred or altered that nobody would identify themselves or others.

Please have a happy but safe New Years Eve.  I don't want to see you professionally.

1 comment:

Honeybee said...

Staying home and partying with two 5 yr olds, and avoiding all the point five club idiots on the road. You be safe, too.