Emergency Nurses' Complex RoleAs an emergency nurse for...


December 13, 1992

Emergency Nurses' Complex Role

As an emergency nurse for over 25 years and an active member of a local Volunteer Fire Company for 11 years, I take exception to several inaccuracies in Steve Childers' letter (Nov. 29) to the editor. Knowing both sides of the story gives me a better perspective on what is happening.

First, it is obvious that Mr. Childers has a somewhat limited exposure to what occurs in an emergency department once he has delivered his patient and left. The patient may be in the ED for several hours and is usually one of many in need of critical care.

Second, using general statements for a local limited problem between the ED and the pre-hospital providers is unfair. In most emergency departments in this state, IVs, EKGs, blood work and breathing treatments are done by the nurse, not by a tech from another department.

Third, when a patient arrives in the ED, the nurse triages the patient and initiates treatment as appropriate. . . . The ED physician will see every patient, but not as soon as they come in the door. . . . The ED nurse that receives the ambulance patient may also have several other very ill patients to care for at the same time.

Fourth, Mr. Childers should not compare the actions of an intern with an emergency nurse. Even in the hospital setting, some interns appear lost before they are oriented. He is comparing apples with oranges.

As the nurse manager of a very busy ED, I would like to extend an invitation to Mr. Childers to spend an evening in my ED as an observer, so he can see the other side of the story.

Catherine R. O'Neill


The writer is nurse manager of the emergency department, North Arundel Hospital, Glen Burnie.

Your Money

During the last election, all of the bond initiatives were passed overwhelmingly. It might be appropriate (although a little late) to point out to the voters what it was they really voted for.

Assume a $10 million appropriation based on county bonds sold to yield 6 percent per year for a period of 10 years. That obligation calls for yearly interest payments of $600,000 to the purchaser of the bonds -- a total payout of $6 million in taxpayer money just in interest.

At the end of the 10-year period, the bonds mature and must be redeemed for the original debt of $10 million. That is a total cost for the specific project of $16 million (plus brokerage commission). All of this is taxpayer money. . . .

I am not sure that many of the property owners are aware of . . . the right of the government to secure their debts with your property. . . . I am not sure that our representatives are fully aware of these potential hazards either. . . . Why would they be so willing to borrow, borrow, borrow using taxpayer money?

They must know that all these debts (bond redemptions) must be repaid, at least I hope so.

Fred Lange

White Hall

The Fault in Oil Leak

The articles written by Bruce Reid on the Harford oil leak (Nov. 22) were interesting and informative. According to the articles, approximately 200,000 gallons of oil from Baltimore Gas & Electric pipelines at the Perryman power plant leaked into the ground. And, BG&E customers will pay for the cleanup.

It is estimated that 35 percent to 40 percent of the leaked oil can be recovered. The estimated cost to pump the oil out of the ground is between $1.3 million and $1.8 million, and if soil cleanup is included, BG&E customers will have to bear additional costs.

The cause of the leak is said to be a small rock that created an 8-inch hole in a 20-year-old steel pipe. We are, however, not told ++ of the original wall thickness of the 4-inch steel pipe.

Normally, schedule 40 or even schedule 80 pipe is used. The normal wall thickness of schedule 40 pipe is .237 inches and for schedule 80 is .337 inches. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that a rock could have been the primary cause of the leak. Given the age of the pipe, soil corrosion appears to be a more probable cause. Certainly, a thorough internal safety incident investigation BG&E should have revealed the true nature of the mishap.

Responsible companies understand that the right to operate is contingent upon the public, their neighbors, and, contrary to Mr. Metzger and other BG&E officials, responsible companies do not require state or federal regulations to do the right thing.

BG&E officials seem to be say ing that they will only do what's proper if they are mandated. They also claimed that . . . "accidents happen in any business." In a responsible industrial setting, however, accidents are preventable. Some states even jail negligent managers.

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