LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- NBC'S newest summer medical drama, "The Night Shift," features the chaos and heroism of a night shift at a Texas hospital, and the TV experience isn't far from what one might find at University Medical Center.
Some of the most challenging, bizarre, and life-threatening cases come through the doors of the emergency room on TV, and at UMC, real hospital workers say what they find in their ER is all the more crucial -- real lives and real lessons for those who want to be doctors.
Adi Flores, Brandy Norman and Taylor Sellersare are a few of the 50 involved in UMC'S volunteer program, giving pre-med students hands-on experience in the ER and helping them decide early if they’re cut out for the fast paced life of trauma treatment.
“I went down to trauma and there was a patient who cut off his fingers - completely off and they were in a bucket of ice,” Flores said. “I remember seeing those and thinking ‘one day I will be able to attach them.’ For me, that was life-changing.”
Watching the volunteers along the way is Dr. Devon Moore, a physician at UMC.“I didn't have experience like this and I would've loved it,” Moore said. “When I was a pre-med, I had limited opportunities to truly shadow in an emergency environment.”
“We talk to patients, take care of their non-medical needs, take messages back and forth,” Taylor Sellersare said. “So it's really patient-care focused and that's hard to get without medical training.”
One case the emergency room dealt with was a snake bite – a rare occurrence in Las Vegas. “The problem is, most of the time, we don't know what type of snake it was,” Moore said. “We would know how to manage it without any questions. Really, the only way to get that information is to bring in the snake alive or dead.” To determine the severity of the bite, doctors looked for a change in skin color. If the skin were brown or black, it would indicate dead or necrotic skin. The skin was a more normal bright red.
Next, another medical mystery: a patient with severe iron deficiency. “Where we should have a healthy adult male with hemoglobin of 12, his is five,” Moore said. You can see the dramatic drop. The question we always have is why? We'll give him a few units to bring his blood level up and he'll feel better.”
By late evening, the staff also had to deal with two heart attacks, a patient undergoing CPR, and a dangerous Ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg fails to enter the uterus. The challenges were all part of the experience these students wouldn't get anywhere else.
“You see it in the TV shows, what they actually do, but it’s nice to see it in real life,” Brandy Norman said.