The Healer Pack
The Arolos Infirmary.
The Infirmary is surprisingly large. Considering the size of some of it's patients should not be surprising. Funds that have been raised have resulted in it being extended greatly in the time Arolos has been inhabited and it is an extensive area. As you enter the Infirmary there is a sizable area which has couches, seats and some cots. On the right is an entrance to the Infirmary Weyr Pool, which opens out to the massive Infirmary Weyr, where Dragons are treated initially before moving to one of the other Ward Weyrs. On the left is a door that actually leads to Weyrhealer K'rens Weyr (as he foolishly needed to be on call all hours of the day and night in the early years). There are shelves of some of the common medicines here, and emergency equipment. In Fall this area is often used as a triage station before riders are moved to the wards. At the back of this room there is an opening, and a small office on the left. This is the Weyrhealers Office - or the Senior healer in charge's office and can be used for "private" chats. This large entrance, more than double door size leads into the working area of the Infirmary.
Here, again on the left is the Staff room which is relatively sizeable as it contains the shelves of patient records in neat alphabetical order. It also contains a stove, the rota board with shift tags for the Infirmary staff to organise their shifts with. The left side of the infirmary contains the medical stores, and the Apothecary Lab (for preparing medicines) and a series of private treatment rooms. Dovetailing into this is the principal corridor accessing the Weyr and a smaller corridor direct to the lower Caverns. Also the main stove, run by natural gases and crom coal is in the niche area, accessible for all. This is used for sterilising, boiling water, cooking up numbweed salve as necessary.
The right side of this area has a series of Cots, and bed area extends in an L-shape to the left - with window holes that open to the infirmary weyr so a dragon can see his or her rider. Each bed area can be screened off if necessary into a semi private area, but if a patient is critical they will be put in one of the private rooms Across from here is a latrine area/ washing area which is designed so that the pits are flushed out by a sluice mechanism from the second Infirmary Weyr large bathing pool. There is an access to the Infirmary Weyr from here, where most of the dragon treatment takes place.
The Infirmary weyr is large enough to take in approximately three large dragons at a time, and contains, now, ome special features such as a manual pump that can make a shower for dragons. This has proved valuable on swift emergency treatment of Thread, where GETTING to the Thread involves clambering over panicking dragon. The Ward Weyrs, are on the upper level above the entire infirmary. A gentle ramp has been created and there is a walkway broad ledge that doubles as a sunning area for convalescing dragons. A rider can move to the temporary quarters attached to each weyr if they wish until the dragon is recovered enough to be released. One main difference about these weyrs is the built in chutes for dragon waste, as injured dragons cannot go between to relieve themselves. This does sometimes required sluicing through - unfortunately with buckets of water rather than a water system as yet.
The current Weyrhealer is K'ren. The Weyrhealer (in the Arolos timeline at least) is a post appointed by the Weyr, not by the Healer Hall and has the responsibility for the entire Weyr Infirmary one way or another. Any concerns of any healer, difficulties or even disciplinary measures are referred to the Weyrhealer who has to submit reports to both the Healer Hall and the Weyrleader.
There is always at least one full Healer on duty (usually two or more) as well as a variety of the Infirmary assistants and support Staff. Infirmary assistants can deal with cuts, bruises, minor stitching and minor procedures without resorting to the full Healer. If there is a serious looking illness, injury or something unusual, the Infirmary Assistant must contact the Duty Healer. In any case, any medical intervention is written up for review by the duty Healer. A thorough examination of the patient should then take place and a course of treatment decided upon.
Every patient has a "Chart" (a slate) at the end of the cot, on which instructions are written in graphite for treatment and have to be signed by one of the Healers. Likewise, a recovered patient has to be signed out and appropriate appointments noted. Scrubbing the slates off for reuse is often something given to the support staff to do. Every patient has a private medical Record filed in the rather sizeable staff room alphabetically. Every relevant detail and observation which is noted on the chart is transferred to the personal Record and pass back via the Weyrhealers office to be filed. The Weyrhealer will glance over the cases and note any abnormalities or particularly effective treatments, which are recorded and sent back to Healer Hall in regular reports.
The Infirmary Assistants or the Healers file the Records and every now and then they get Archived. There is however, in the Healers room a Healers Board for the Infirmary staff to give slightly less formal notes to each other which might not be appropriate on the Charts. Notes such as "Patient A seems to be in a lot of pain despite the numbweed." Or "Patient B is really depressed despite healing well", or even "Running low on clean bandages." The whole staff is encouraged to use this board regardless of rank or expertise and it is vital to the smooth function and personalised care of those in the Infirmary.
However, one of the focal points of this main staff room is the roster board. It's this that has been spilt into the days and weeks and Healers and assistants. It basically boils down to a series of pegs on which coloured active tags are hung on the shift markers. Swapping of shifts can be done relatively easily as long as the staff member uses all their shift markers in the appropriate sevenday and not more than three back to back - that usually only occurs on a ThreadFall day. There is an attempt to keep sensible hours and night shifts sometimes can earn back half a shift leeway else where. Healers looking for a day off will often do a few nights in a row and will not have to fill or their shift markers the following sevenday for example. Covering for Gathers, TurnsEnd is done as fairly as possible. If there are arguments about when to cover shifts the tags are dropped in a bowl and pulled out. The Weyrhealer sets up the basic roster, but frequently swapping shifts occurs after that, or if an emergency takes someone into a second shift things will be rearrange at a later date or the Healer or Assistant will be compensated.
Thread Fall procedure.
When Fall happens, all Healers and staff are on standby. There is double staff for the shifts covering fall and the 2 after them as a standard. Stretcher teams are on standby, and there is usually a full Healer ready to make an on the ground assessment. The patient is then take to triage where the more senior of the Assistants and a full Healer will prioritise cases for the other healers and send them in one by one. Any rider who is mobile with a score wuill come and sit in the triage area to be seen for treatment - and might possibly be temporarily patched until the end of Fall and only then seen to in detail.
Medical supplies are a vital part of the Infirmary and after a few instances of thieving most of the dangerous substances are kept in locked cupboards and cabinets. Only the qualified Healers of Journeyman rank and over have keys to the locked cabinets and they have to sign out what they have taken from the cabinet and keep the key with them at all times. Fellis is now included in this cabinet, as is quickwort and many of the rarer concoctions. Simple normal remedies such as tussilago and willowbark, numbweed etc are usually available to most of the staff and there are usually remedies mixed ready for specific patients available in small pigeon hole shelves next to the Apothecary's room. Either the apothecary does this or one of the Healers trained in preparation. Numbweed in it's raw form is brought up by the keg in distillate liquid, or liquid salve form and can be decanted at need. There is always at least one keg on tap and one spare. When you break into the spare a request is put in for the next to be brought up by one of the support staff.
All Healers are expected to do some harvesting and preparation duty at some point. This can involve trips out to harvest, or preparation of material within the infirmary itself, usually under the watchful eye of the Apothecary. Sometimes it involves a weyrwide effort and camp out such as numbweed preparation, but those are organised as and when required.
General Supplies and Infirmary procedures
Aside from the medicines the other supplies for the Infirmary are vital and there are a lot of procedures in place to make sure laundry gets done, that healers smocks are washed, equipment sterilised, places scrubbed down. The Infirmary assistants do a lot of this, supervising the support staff if necessary. Patients clothes when they are admitted are put in "tag-bags" that can hang on the end of the cot for collection. They usually have the cot number with them, and of course there is a record of who is in which cot to return them to. Valuables are placed in the cot cupboard next to them, or put in small "tag-bags" and locked in one of the lockable cupboards in the Healers Staff room. The laundry gets taken daily and replaced daily - including sheets, blankets, furs, Healer uniforms, patient gowns. The floors and surfaces are kept clean and scrubbed down with sterilising mixtures (which stink) as frequently as required. Cleanliness is important in the Infirmary so a lot of scrubbing of hands, sterilising of instruments and bottles goes on. There is a section of the Infirmary where bottles, pots, pans and jars are bleached out and boil. It's an unpleasant thing to have to do, but totally necessary. The motto of the Arolos Infirmary is.."If it's doubt-y it's dirty". In other words if you don't know that it is clean, you assume it isn't and get something that is.
The Arolos Infirmary is run pretty smoothly and it's default status is one of efficient procedure. It is best cannot assume that there are any problems unless you have spoken about it OC-ly to the BoD. This is a default baseline - after all if the Infirmary didn't work properly it would be a pretty major thing for the weyr and something would be done about it. The Infirmary have a reasonable amount of staff, PC and NPC. Playing characters in the Infirmary are allowed to , and be required to use NPCs frequently to ensure people are carried or moved or imply that patients are regularly looked after.
All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyrightę Anne McCaffrey 1967,2005, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.
The Dragonriders of Pern« is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.