The hospitalist came out of my patient's room and asked me if I noticed anything unusual about the patient's family member. Umm, no. That person was there was the patient first arrived, but left and I guess returned while I was out of the room. He told me that he is covered in bugs. Huh, interesting.
"What kind of bug?"
"I don't know, I didn't want to get close to him."
I walked in there to check it out. The family member said something to me and as he did, he fixed the collar of his shirt. Several little insects crawled out from beneath it and crawled up his neck. Then I noticed he was trying to clean his jacket. There were little bug bodies all over the floor, some were slowing crawling away, others appeared dead.
I told the unit secretary to order a terminal clean in that room after my patient leaves.
Once the room was clear, another nurse and I went in there to investigate. The little suckers were crawling everywhere!
Ticks! The bugs were ticks. I believe this an ER first. Now, we've had lice, scabies, maggots, dead snakes and 1 live snake, but never ticks. How exciting. Housekeeping was not happy about it. It took 2 terminal cleans to get rid of them all. After the first one, I checked out the room and noticed a bunch clinging to the wall and one actually made in out into the hall. He was a spunky tick. I named him Gerald.
It's never boring in the ER!
POST NOTE: After looking at Gerald's photo and comparing it to searches on the internet, I'm thinking Gerald was actually a bedbug. He was still spunky though!