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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The case of the missing christmas trees

Do you ever wonder what happens to all the nipple adaptors (christmas trees) and tubing connectors? They seem to disapear faster than the money I hold in my hands on payday.

You go to do a treatment, the patient has a bubbler hooked up to the flowmeter, and you easily find the nebulizer, but the christmas tree is nowhere to be found. How the heck did so and so do a treatment all day with no christmas tree? Grrrrr!!

By habit, RTs seem to pick up those things up, stuff them into their pockets, take them home, and that's where they stay. Your wife (or you or your mommy) does your laundry, empties your pockets, and tosses those things into the trash thinking they are just junk -- of which they are to anyone who doesn't work with oxygen.

Of course if you leave them sitting on a shelf in the room they get knocked on the floor and swept away by the cleaning service.

Along with those christmas trees, o2 connector tubing seems to find a way to disappeare too. Or, connected to the o2 tubing is a suction connector. One thing I've learned is if you go into a room because the nurse told you the patients sat is low, I check the flowmeter first. If it's on, I check the connector sites. Often times, the connector is a suction connector, and is disconnected.

So you have to go out of your way to find a new nipple adaptor or connector. Unless, that is, you happen to have it handy in your pocket or something.

The ER calls me all the time for more oxygen connector tubings. Well, at least they do if the RN working isn't lazy and decides to simply use the suction connector that's readily available.

Here at shoreline our ER beds are a little too far from the flowmeter, so we keep an o2 tubing connected to each flowmeter with a connector on the end. We hook up o2 or a treatment to the connector.

But I'm telling you, if a suction connector is in the place of the o2 connector,
all this does is cause trouble for all of us.

So what happens to these things? It's not like patients are taking them home.

Or is it?

There's a theory.

I know some COPD patients who have asked for oxygen connector tubing so they can connect their 1000 feet of oxygen tubing through their homes. Maybe they lose their own as fast as we lose them here in the hospital.

So when they see all that tubing above their hospital bed, their eyes light up. As soon as they have their discharge papers in hand, and the nurse leaves them alone to get dressed, they snatch up the extra equipment they need for home.

Most people are honorable and won't do this, but I suppose this theory goes along with the Bible in the Hotel theory, "What's in the room is mine, so I'm taking it."

Connectors probably just get thrown away in ER for whatever reason.

To be nice, about once a week I take a handful of 02 tubing connectors to ER and put them in a cup for the nurses to use, and the connectors STILL keep disappearing.

Where do these things go?

Here's another theory regarding the christmas trees: people are taking them home and using them to decorate their gardens or something? They are neat looking little things.

I wouldn't be surprised to see them in those little Christmas towns people use to decorate their homes at Christmas time. Some day I'm going to see one of my christmas trees decorated with little dots of white snow amid a miniature snowy park.


Unknown said...


My wife has asthma, and from time to time one of our pets will chew up the tubing for her nebulizer. When we go to the ER, they always give us the tubing and the mask when we leave because they say they're just going to throw it away anyhow.

Rick Frea said...

We give away the neb and the tubing too, but the christmas tree and the connectors are supposed to stay.

Sarah said...

I think that RN's eat them. It's the only other thing I can think of. If they came out of nursing's budget they'd sure keep a better eye on them though.

Anonymous said...

When there's absolutely nothing to do, they make great axles for hospital-supply toy cars. 4 rolls of tape, 4 christmas trees, rubber band from BVM's and paper clips combined with a little imagination makes hours of fun for bored respiratory therapists!

Seriously though, these are one of the things I stuff my pockets with at the beginning of the shift. That and o2 tubing connectors, cloth tape, 3m tape, tongue depressors, bite sticks, 2 OPA's, a blood gas kit, my first albuterol bottle, trauma shears, bandage scissors, a hemostat...