Fraser Barnett

I worked in MICU in 1979. There was an existing CCU at the time. The MICU was created from what I recall as a means to treat patients that required around the clock treatment and observation. The SICU used to be adjacent to the adult recovery room. The sicker postop patients ended up staying in the then fledgling SICU. The MICU was created to have a central Nursing station with a 360 degree view of all the cubicles. Hence, the raised platform that is still there today.

I worked as a Unit Assistant in MICU 1979- 1985. After I received my RN from HSC I worked SICU 1988-1992.

Some of my recollections of the MICU were – Space-labs monitors that looked like an old B&W TV screen. The B/P and arterial Line modules would click in and out of the consul on the wall. In the frigid winter months we used to spray static guard on the modules since they would stick due to all the static electricity. There was a device called the Tri-corder. When placed in a patient’s cubicle it was too big for the space and invariably staff would walk into this thing and stub their feet. The ventilators were huge. I think they were called Bear 1 and eventually Bear 2. They had bellows that went up and down with ventilation. There was a kitchen just outside of the CCU. We could make toast, soup or teas and coffees for the patients. Smoking was allowed in the Staff lounge! Which was right across from the then CCU ….

The MICU was responsible for respond to Code “99”. Which is now called Code Blue. There were many times the 99 team were quite literally “flying” through the hallways or to the wards in order to attend the patients that were in Cardio Respiratory distress. In those days we did not have a pharmacy . There were Medication nurses who would prepare all the medications. The drawer where the medication nurse was stationed is still there today at the back of the unit. Many Residents who came through for training are now well established staff Doctors. One night the nurses decided to play a trick on one such resident who is now a cardiologist here in the city. It was his birthday. In the middle of the night the nurses called him from the call room to see a patient. When he arrived he was doused with water and shaving cream. This was everyone’s way of wishing him Happy Birthday. He thought this was funny and was a good sport about it.

My most memorable memories were that of all the staff that worked there. Everyone had great attitudes. There was a sense of pride and  camaraderie. There was a great sense of team effort. Everyone worked well together and no job was too big or small for anyone there.

Finally, my best memory was having the pleasure to help look after a young patient named Kevin Keough. He was a   patient who resided in the MICU for a very long time. He was on Long Term Mechanical ventilation. This, long before there was a Provincial Program. Dr. Bryan Kirk and Dr. Joe Lee were the catalysts who pioneered this type of care. Kevin was well tended to by the Nursing and Unit Assistant staff. In particular, Richard Klassen, who looked after Kevin very well. Richard was a mentor to me. To this very day I carry the memory of these two individuals who faced adversity and life’s difficulties as an inspiration. All in all, my time in the MICU was a memorable. This spurred me on to become an R.N and later a Clinical Assistant.