Medical terms are assigned for the purpose of helping the medical world throughout the world understand the commonalities between one another. With these terms, medical translation between hospitals and countries are not confused or mis-communicated. Without such terminology, the medical world could be chaotic and easily misunderstood from one hospital to the next. No matter what the situation is that arises within the hospital, each moment that occurs can be correlated with a term that allows hospital staff to know how to respond accordingly. In the moment a patient begins flatlining, medical staff go through a series of resuscitating procedures in order to save a patient.
Death is not an uncommon event within the walls of any hospital throughout this world. It’s not a guest that is invited, but one that medical staff work their hardest to make sure it never finds it’s way to any of their patients. Knowing that death is an inescapable part of life, medical staff aren’t without knowing that when it’s a patient’s time, then it’s all they can do in order to make patients comfortable. In the case where there is something that can be done in order to save a patient from dying, and flatlining, they go through everything medically available to them in order to prevent them from losing the patient. Flatlining is a medical terminology that is used throughout the entire world of medical professionals that practice medicine. In definition, flatlining means that there is no electrical activity that can be picked up from the heart or the brain. In the movies, many medical dramas that are television shows and movies show a dramatized version of what a flatlining situations looks like. In some sense of it all, there is truth to the situation, however, there are some scenes that are more elaborate than what really happens in real life.
There are electrodes that are connected to each patient that is checked within the hospital. These electrodes are responsible for outputting all information pertaining to what’s happening inside of a patient’s body, this also includes the brain and the heart. Anything that changes within the body, the electrodes pick up on and this information is then transmitted to the many monitors surrounding the room. Each monitor reads out information pertaining to certain parts of the patient’s body, allowing doctors to find the ease necessary to easily pick out which part of the body is changing. Depending on what the information is portraying will help the doctor and nurse staff know what the next form of action is needed. For instance, of a patient’s heartbeat begins to pick up, the heart monitor will display this information. Through a series of tests, some not as many as one would think, the medical staff will be able to identify the reason of the increased heartbeats and know exactly how to return it to normal. With the brain, the electrodes read the electrical information that informs them of the patient’s brain activity and if it’s on track, normal, or if there is a possibly problem. The use of these electrodes play a very intrigal part of helping the doctor to easily point out any changes of their patient’s that they need to be aware of. In the moment that a patient begins flatlining, it means that either their heart is no longer beating, or the brain activity has ceased. Before doctors can immediately begin running through procedures, they must first be completely aware of all the medicines the patient has had, what they’re allergic to, and in what steps they must take next.
The moment that the patient begins flatlining, an alarm goes off. This alarm is better known as a code in the medical world, simply meaning that their attention must be diverted immediately to this particular situation. From that moment, they must first check the heart and brain monitors to see if any helpful information can be gathered. As mentioned above, the electrodes read the electrical output of the heart and the brain. The moment that a patient begins flatlining, there is no electrical output from either the heart or the brain, and to know which one it is, the doctor will have to refer to the appropriate monitors. If the heart is flatlining, this means that the heart has gone asystolic, meaning there is no electrical output of the heart. Should there be no electrical output from the brain, then this medically known as the patient being brain dead. Many believe that those who are brain dead are simply in a coma, however, some time ago, medical boards came together to fully understand this difference. When the patient is still able to respond to medications, or put out some brain wave function, they are considered to be in a coma and not brain dead. However, when these factors are no longer an issue and can be medically removed from the picture due to the patient getting worse, then the doctor can claim the patient is no longer in a coma.
When it is determined that a patient heart is flatlining, there are procedures that they can follow in order to resuscitate them, but when they are medically brain dead, there is nothing more they can do for them, and doctors must call the time of death. Typically, in television shows, when a patient’s heart begins flatlining, they immediately grab paddles, also known as a defibrillator, to shock the heart into restarting it into beating again. According to medical professionals, the defibrillator is never to be used to the heart when it goes asystole. The defibrillator’s purposed is to be used to reset the heart beat when it begins to have irregular heart beats brought on by certain medical situations that arise in the heart. When a person begins to flatline, the using a defribullator will actually make the flatlining patients chances of being resuscitated even harder and unlikely. This is where the television shows and movies are wrong. In the real medical world, doctors do not use the defibrillator, but instead they use chest compressions and endorphin enhancing drugs. The most common endorphine inducing drug that medical professionals prefer to use when a patient is flatlining is vasopressin, which helps with increasing blood pressure in the heart. Between these few choices, these are what medical professionals prefer to do when they realize that their patient is flatlining.