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Saturday, April 28, 2012

STAT: A word that is often abused

The word "STAT" comes from the Latin word staim which means immediately.  So stat is essentially an abbreviation of the old word.  It's common for the English to be lazy with speech, and thus is how the word stat was formed.

Proper use of the word is either capitalized or not capitalized. 

Essentially, when someone is called STAT it means that person is needed immediately.  Unfortunately, however, the word "immediately" does not denote what the person is needed for.  So you can be called STAT because your services are desired to save a life, or  you could be called so the doctor can get his EKG results quick so he can see it before he goes home for dinner.

Ideally you'd think the word STAT would be used for life and death situations, such as the following. :
  • RT STAT to ER..... we have a patient in respiratory distress
  • RT STAT to 244.... we have a patient in V-tach
  • RT STAT to ICU...  we have a patient with a heart rate of 27
  • RT STAT to ER...  we have a patient who can't breathe
Realistically, the above plus the following are more likely to occur in tandem:
  • RT STAT to ER.... EMTs are 20 minutes out with a cardiac arrest
  • RT STAT to 244.... Dr. Jones wants an EKG done before he goes home, pt is fine
  • RT STAT to ambulatory surgery... Dr. wants pre-op EKG done
  • RT STAT to CCU... RN wants EKG to see what rythm patient is in
Actually, I have recent pages such as the following:
  • STAT EKG in 2234 in two hours
  • STAT ABG in an hour on the vent patient
With such a vague definition, and with such frivolous use of the word statim or STAT, the word has lost much of it's luster and RTs have become deconditioned to the word.  When an RT may be needed immediately, he may be inclined to finish his last bite of steak before sauntering to where he's needed.

He may also be written up for responding to a code overly relaxed and in a non-urgent manner.

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