Here’s how we used to find a difficult vein. If a floor nurse could not get an IV in, they asked one of their colleagues to try. If their colleague could not find the impossible-to-locate vein, they contacted an ICU nurse. If the ICU nurse couldn’t get one, sometimes an ER nurse or a flight nurse would try. If they still couldn’t get an IV, then I would be paged to ask if they could get an order for an anesthesiologist to try. And if the anesthesiologist couldn’t figure out how to find a difficult vein, we got a PICC line with the PICC nurse or with the radiologist or I placed a central line if the patient could not wait for a PICC line.
That’s how we used to find a difficult IV.
How do we find one now? If you’re on the floor, you use one of these cheaper vein lights to find the difficult vein and place your IV. However, if you work in Happy’s ER, now you have a $6,000 Star Trek looking vein finder for those dehydrated nursing home patients and cracked out meth heads.
I wonder if Happy’s hospital got a package deal along with their new $6,000 pupillometer, Buy one $6,000 vein light, get a $6,000 pupillometer at equal price. Sounds like a bargain to me. I just hope the nurses get their Christmas bonus membership to the jelly bean of the month club this year. Or maybe, just maybe, getting to play with really expensive technological replacements for basic science skills is bonus enough for some.
*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*