Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hospital emergency codes

Hospital Emergency Codes are used in hospitals worldwide to alert staff to various emergency situations. The use of codes is intended to convey essential information quickly and with a minimum of misunderstanding to staff, while preventing stress or panic among visitors to the hospital. These codes may be posted on placards throughout the hospital, or printed on employee/staff identification badges for ready reference.
File:WBH-Troy disaster codes.jpgBack of a hospital ID Badge showing disaster codes.
Hospital emergency codes may denote different events at different hospitals, even nearby ones. Since many physicians have privileges at more than one facility, this may lead to confusion in emergencies, so uniform systems have been proposed.

Codes by color

Note: Different codes are used in different hospitals.
[edit]Code Blue
[edit]Cardiac arrest
"Code Blue" is generally used to indicate a patient requiring resuscitation or otherwise in need of immediate medical attention, most often as the result of a respiratory arrest or cardiac arrest. When called overhead, the page takes the form of "Code Blue, (floor, (room)" to alert the resuscitation team where to respond. Every hospital, as a part of its disaster plans, sets a policy to determine which units provide personnel for code coverage. In theory any medical professional may respond to a code, but in practice the team makeup is limited to those with Advanced Cardiac Life Support or other equivalent resuscitation training. Frequently these teams are staffed by emergency department and intensive care unit physicians, respiratory therapists, and nurses, in addition to at least one attending physician, who directs the resuscitation effort and is said to "run the code." This phrase was coined at Bethany Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas.[5] The term "code" by itself is commonly used by medical professionals as a slang term for this type of emergency, as in "calling a code" or describing a patient as "coding".
    • Australian Standard[1]
    • Californian Standard[2]
  • "Plan Blue" is used at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City to indicate arrival of a trauma patient so critically injured that even the short delay of a stop in the ER for evaluation could be fatal; the "Plan Blue" is called out to alert the surgeon on call to immediately proceed to the ER entrance and take the patient upstairs for immediate surgery. This was illustrated in an episode of Trauma: Life in the ER entitled "West Side Stories".

[edit]Other codes

[edit]"Doctor" Codes
"Doctor" codes are often used in hospital settings for announcements over a general loudspeaker or paging system that might cause panic or endanger a patient's privacy. Most often, "Doctor" codes take the form of "Paging Dr. _____", where the doctor's "name" is a code word for a dangerous situation or a patient in crisis. e.g.: "Paging Doctor Firestone, third floor," to indicate a possible fire in the location specified.

[edit]Codes by emergency

[edit]Bomb threat
[edit]Child abduction/missing person
[edit]Combative person/assault
  • Code North: Stanford University Medical Center
  • Code Grey: Combative Person with no weapon (HASC)
  • Code Silver: Combative Person with a weapon (HASC)
  • Code Black: Personal Attack (Australian Standard Code)
  • Code White: Violent Patient (Markham Stouffville Hospital), Quebec and Ontario
  • Code Atlas: Virginia Healthcare System
  • Security Stat: Heartland Regional Medical Center
  • "Mr. Strong" to (location), at other hospitals
  • "Dr. Armstrong" to (location), at other hospitals
  • Code Yellow: Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital
  • Code Yellow: Cheyenne Regional Medical Center
  • Yellow Alert: Health Partners Regions Hospital
  • Code White: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
  • Code Orange: Australian Standard.
  • Code Green: Quebec and Ontario
  • Usually Code Red.
    • Australian Standard.[1]
    • California Standard.[2]
  • Sometimes Dr. Red, Dr. Pyro, or Dr. Firestone.
  • Sometimes "Evacuation Bell"
Code Red. Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital
  • Dr. Red Cheyenne Regional Medical Center
    • Long Grass Health Partners Regions Hospital
Code F
  • University of Michigan Hospitals
[edit]Internal disaster
  • Code Green: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
  • Code Grey: University Health Network, Toronto
  • Code Yellow: Stanford University Medical Center (old system), Australian Standard
  • Code Triage - Internal: HACS
  • Code Alert sometimes denotes disaster.
[edit]Lockdown/limited access
  • Code Orange: Ontario Used in Ontario hospitals to indicate an external disaster with mass casualties. Lockdown or controlled facility access is often used as part of the response. Volunteers, Families and Students were denied access during SARS Outbreak of 2003.
  • Code Red: Most commonly used by schools to indicate that a dangerous and/or harmful person is on campus.
[edit]Mass casualty incident
  • Code Yellow: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • "MASCAL" may also be used
  • Code 10, Code 20, or Code 99: Heartland Regional Medical Center
  • Code Orange: Calgary Health Region, Quebec and Ontario
  • Code Triage: Scripps Healthcare San Diego; Hoag Hospital Newport Beach; Seton Medical Center, Daly City, California.
  • Code 1000: Fletcher Allen Medical Center; Burlington, VT
  • Code Orange: Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital
  • Code Orange: Cheyenne Regional Medical Center
  • Orange Alert: Health Partners Regions Hospital
[edit]Severe weather
[edit]Theft/armed robbery
  • Code Amber: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • Code Amber: New Jersey Hospital Association
[edit]Total divert
  • A status sometimes called "Critical Care Bypass" (Ontario),[6] "Total Divert", "triage situation", "Saturation Alert" or "High Occupancy" (University of Michigan Health System).
  • Generally used by hospitals as a status indicator for EMS/ambulance services denoting that the issuing ER/trauma facility has reached maximum patient capacity and should not receive any more new patients if at all possible.
  • A variation on "Total Divert", called "Bypass", is used at many U.S. hospitals to indicate emergency facilities at or over maximum capacity; this variation was featured in the "Road Warriors" episode of Trauma: Life in the E.R.. As explained by a trauma nurse in the episode, the status change does not always keep new patients from arriving.
  • Can be denoted as Code Purple or Code Yellow in some hospitals.

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