Ashkan Khabazian provides expert assistance to doctors and patients in code blue situations as an emergency department clinical pharmacist with Sharp HealthCare in San Diego, California. Prior to accepting his present position, Ashkan Khabazian worked as clinical pharmacist for internal medicine at Scripps Mercy Hospital in the same city.
Through medical television shows watched by millions, the term code blue has entered the popular consciousness. People associate the term with medical emergencies that occur in a hospital setting, though they may be surprised to learn that, in the real world, code blue has no formal definition and functions more like slang.
Usually, code blue designates a situation in which a patient is undergoing cardiac arrest. Such patients require immediate medical care, usually in the form a code team that rushes to begin resuscitative procedures. Sometimes, hospitals use the term code red in place of code blue.
Besides cardiac arrest, healthcare facilities may rely on codes to designate non-medical threats. For instance, hospitals may use code yellow or code black in the event of a bomb threat or if a patient goes missing.