Whether one is resuscitating or being resuscitated, the call for help is a cry for help. However, constructive help may be hard to come by and thus harder to let go.
When one is resuscitating or being resuscitated, the scenario may often be that they are or have been driving under the influence of tunnel vision, thus being blindsided by situational incompetence induced by it. Just like the best-case scenario for avoiding roadside mishaps due to DUI/DWI secondary to substances or situations, graveside mishaps due to DUI/DWI secondary to substances or situations can best be avoided by letting the arriving helpers take the reins of resuscitation. However, it is important to gauge whether the arriving helpers themselves are constructive and not under the influence of tunnel vision. Ironically, the good thing about team-model health care management is that the tunnel visions of individual team members coalesce to save the day for both the ones resuscitating and the ones being resuscitated. However, the tunnel visions of individuals can conflict, giving rise to interpersonal conflicts, sometimes externalized and sometimes internalized during the critical periods of resuscitation, especially endangering the ones being resuscitated.
The help sought from arriving helpers is always about seeking their heads, hands, and hearts, meaning their knowledge, skills, and comfort. However, that may not always be available during every cry for help. Historically, heartless intimidators, full of their heads or their hands, have been tolerated by the intimidated, despite being perceived as headless and handless when crying out for help because heartful buffers to comfort them have been available elsewhere. However, with the world becoming lonelier with each passing day, heartless intimidators are promptly ostracized due to the absence of heartful buffers for maintaining the sanity of the intimidated, who are perceived as headless and handless. Ironically, the number of heartless intimidators itself may be rising due to the intimidators’ own loneliness in the lonelier world.
In the absence of certainty regarding constructive help, the hesitation to cry for help should not sink in because for the sake of the first victims, whose resuscitations are time-sensitive, and maybe for the sake of avoiding health care institutions and health care payers becoming the third victims by bearing the costs of botched resuscitations and ensuing litigations, it may be okay to let heartless but headful and/or handful helpers take the reins of resuscitation. Those who are resuscitating and crying out for help as second victims may still have time to be managed appropriately in time after the first victims have been resuscitated, and maybe the third victims have been avoided. In due course of time, provider shortages may hopefully wither away, allowing heartless intimidators to be shown the door for perpetuating recurring intimidations, while the headless and handless intimidated potentially walk out the door due to recurring situational incompetence. This is because health care cannot risk being left to be catered with all hearts and no heads or hands. The idiom “Even the kick of a milch cow has to be tolerated” from the ancients can only be followed to a certain extent and only so often by the moderns, whose learned behaviors can be induced to change whether or not the times are critical and sensitive.
Interestingly, unless one is fatally unfortunate to be headless, handless, as well as heartless, even the arriving helpers who are only headless and handless can bring something to the table because sometimes, all that is needed is heart, whether or not one is resuscitating or being resuscitated.
Deepak Gupta is an anesthesiologist.