Yesterday made me realise how profoundly we depend on the latest technology and how bloody dangerous it is. I was doing my day job working… ok, being in charge of the Emergency Department yesterday when all hell broke loose.
No, the train didn’t hit the plane, and we didn’t have a flood in a bush fire. It was normal day-to-day work caring for sick people. The only difference that made it a critical incident was … IT crash. And I don’t mean one app not working or something like this. It was one batshit crazy total IT blackout. We couldn’t book in the patients, prescribe for them, order test results, see those test results, see where the patient is… null, nothing on the screen. We suddenly become blind and deaf.
It didn’t last long, just 30 minutes before everyone was a poor IT guy who had to turn the switch off and on, but I’m pretty sure it was the worst 30 minutes in this man’s life. In the meantime, we had a headless chicken moment in ED. And I’m proud to say my team did really well. We implemented a major incident protocol, dragging all the paper forms from long forgotten storage and placing whiteboards in every ED area.
We managed. Our patients were safe and well cared for, but it made me realise you don’t need a bomb to destabilise the most critical and vulnerable places. All you need is a little blackout, especially if you don’t have a man who could flip the switch on and off.