A Day in the Life of a Volunteer in the NeuroTrauma Intensive Care Unit

A Day in the Life of a Volunteer in the NeuroTrauma Intensive Care Unit

By: Anthony Aquan-Assee

It is 7:30 am and a patient who was just airlifted to St. Michael’s Hospital is being transported to the resuscitation room in the emergency department.  This patient was involved in an extremely serious motorcycle accident and he has sustained a very severe head injury as well as many other life threatening internal injuries. He will have to undergo emergency neurosurgery and then he will be taken to the NeuroTrauma Intensive Care Unit (TN-ICU) on the 9th floor.  

By the time that he is brought up to the TN-ICU, his family is anxiously waiting to see him.  

Before his parents can go into the ICU, the volunteer on duty must speak to one of the nurses and find out whether this patient can have any visitors.  If the nurses and doctors are not conducting any procedures and it is not shift-change, the visitors will be escorted by the volunteer into the ICU. 

When they are brought into the ICU, they gasp at the sight of their son. The volunteer hands them a box of tissues so that they can wipe the tears from their face.  The family then turn to the volunteer and ask him if he would go tell their other two children to wait for them in the waiting room.  

The volunteer exits the ICU and sees two young teenagers standing in the hallway.  He escorts them to the waiting room and tells them to wait for their parents.  When asked about their brother’s condition, the volunteer tells them that he is unsure and they will have to ask their parents. 

As he explains this to the teens, another family comes up to the volunteer and asks him if they can go into the ICU to see their daughter.  The volunteer pulls out the patient census sheet to check on the bed number for their daughter.  He tells them to wait for one minute as he goes to check with the nurse to find out if they can visit their daughter. 

The nurse tells the volunteer to only bring in two of the family members.  Ironically, this family’s daughter is in the bed across from the other family’s son.  It is essential that the volunteer provide support, comfort and assistance to these families as their loved ones are facing the life and death situation that is seen on a regular basis in the TN-ICU.  

The good news is that this man who was involved in the serious motorcycle accident survived. Two years after his accident he decided to give back to St. Michael’s Hospital, by volunteering in the TN-ICU for giving him the gift of a “Second Life and a Second Chance.”  


Anthony Aquan-Assee

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