His first week on night float, Daniel Sanchez heard "Code Blue — Radiology," over the P.A. system, and started running.
"You run," said Dr. Sanchez, 31, a first-year resident at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn, "to wherever the location is, because code blue means the patient is going into cardiac arrest."
He was sure it was a patient of his, a woman in her 60s, who had been admitted for chest pains. His team had sent her for a CT scan.
He ran down the eighth floor hallway, then took the elevator to the second floor. It was his first code blue at Woodhull, a public hospital in Williamsburg. But in Guatemala, where he had worked at a public hospital, San Juan De Dios, as part of his medical school training, he had responded to dozens of these alarms.
"But never with the right resources," Dr. Sanchez said. "There were no monitors or defibrillators on the floor. At least half the patients died."
In radiology, his patient, an African-American woman who had just had a heart attack, was surrounded by emergency department doctors and nurses. A tall physician with braids down her back was quietly overseeing everything. A doctor touched the patient's neck and said, "It's not a code blue — she has a pulse!"