Code Blue, Code Red, Code Black: Definition of Hospital Color Codes

What Is Code Blue?

Code blue means that all life support systems are turned off. All vital functions have been stopped and no one is able to communicate with anyone else or even themselves. If someone does not respond within five minutes, then they will die. This happens when there is no oxygen left in the blood stream due to lack of circulation caused by trauma, severe bleeding from a wound, or other causes.

The word “code” comes from the words “continuous.” When something is continuous it means that everything goes on without interruption. For example, if you were talking to me while I was driving my car, and I suddenly cut off your conversation because I had to go get gas. You would say that you were speaking continuously until you got back home.

Another way of saying it is that everything went on uninterrupted until death occurred.

When someone dies, their body stops functioning normally. They stop breathing and eventually stop moving. A person’s heart stops beating and they lose consciousness. Once these things happen, the person is dead.

In order for the emergency services to save a patient, they must do two things: (1) turn off life support; and (2) restart it so that the patient can breathe again. This is called resuscitation.

How Does Hospital Code Color Mean?

The specific meaning of code blue in hospital depends on the situation. It may refer to:

An alert, triggered by a computer when it detects that a patient’s vital signs are not functioning properly, meaning that someone should look into the reason for this.

A “code blue” procedure, meaning that someone has had a heart attack or gone into cardiac arrest.

A medical condition caused by severe blood loss or trauma.

What Do You Need For A Hospital Code Blue?

The first thing needed for a hospital code blue is an alert triggered by a computer. The computer scans patient vital signs every few minutes, and sounds an alert if it sees a dangerous trend developing. The second thing needed is a team of doctors, nurses, assistants, and anyone else who can possibly help. If the patient is still alive at this point, they might need open heart massage, where a doctor manually pushes on the heart to get it pumping again

Why Do We Have Hospital Code Blue?

The purpose of a hospital code blue is to bring together the best doctors and other medical staff available in order to keep a patient alive. If the person has suffered a heart attack or some other medical emergency, then the team will be working to restart the patient’s heart.

While the patient is unconscious, he or she will not be able to respond to any questions that need to be asked, and it is important to find out what happened so that the right treatment can be given.

A hospital code blue involves multiple people and several different areas of expertise so that there’s no shortage of people available to ask questions. It’s also important to keep a patient alive while they are being treated, so there are multiple people working together to save that life.

What If There Is No Hospital Code Blue?

If there was no hospital code blue being carried out when a person died, then this means that the emergency services were not called in time and the person died before they could get proper medical treatment. It is impossible for doctors to save every life, even with the best of efforts.

In some cases, it may be that the patient had a do not resuscitate order on their medical file, meaning that doctors were supposed to let that person die if their heart stopped. In other cases, there may not have been any hope of saving that person even with immediate treatment.

What Is The Difference Between Hospital Code Blue And A Resuscitation?

A hospital code blue is different from a resuscitation in that it’s an alert to the medical team that something has gone wrong with a patient and they need to come help. A resuscitation is when the team gets together to work on bringing a patient back from the dead.

How Is A Hospital Code Blue Abolished?

A hospital code blue is only abolished when the patient has been brought back to life. If this doesn’t happen, then the code blue will continue until a doctor declares that the patient is dead. Once this happens, the code is abolished and the team returns to normal duties.

How Is A Hospital Code Blue Initiated?

A hospital code blue is initiated when a computer detects a dangerous change in vital signs for a patient. The computer will alert all medical staff to the fact that a code blue has been initiated. Once this happens, staff will drop whatever they are doing and will head to the patient’s room.

They will then begin the process of trying to save their life. During this time, a member of staff will announce the name of the patient as well as their medical history and what is going on, so that all staff are up to speed.

Hospital codes can vary in their intensity. For example, a hospital may have different levels of alerts, so it could be a hospital code yellow or even a hospital code orange. The purpose of these alerts is so that only the most necessary staff respond and more help can be summoned if needed.

What Happens After A Hospital Code Blue?

After a hospital code blue has been called, the medical team will do everything in their power to save the life of the patient. Even if the patient has already died, they may be able to be revived. This is when a hospital code blue becomes more of a hospital code brown…

Why Is The Hospital Code Blue Sometimes Known As A Hospital Code Brown?

There’s a very good reason why hospital codes are sometimes known as hospital codes brown. When a patient has been dead for a long time, then it becomes very unlikely that the medical team can bring them back to life. Even if they do manage to do this, there is a good chance that the patient will end up with serious brain damage.

This means that a hospital code blue can easily descend into a hospital code brown. If the patient does end up being brought back to life, then they will generally be placed in a bed next to the one they died in and won’t be moved again.

Of course, some people find this offensive so you may be asked not to use the term. If this is the case, then you shouldn’t use it as they mean it when they say it. Instead of saying hospital code brown, you could say hospital do not resuscitate or something similar.

Sources & references used in this article:

Variability of emergency color codes for critical events between hospitals in Riyadh by I Ashworth, AM El Dali, O ElDeib, AA Altoub… – Annals of Saudi …, 2015 –

… Hospital Emergencies–An Experience of Protocol Designing, Development, and Implementation in a Large Multispecialty Tertiary Care Teaching Hospital … by SR Nilakantam, MD Ravi, J Bahuguna, M Dayananda –

Code blue: a Katrina physician’s memoir by RE Deichmann – 2008 –

Development and Use of an iPad-Based Resuscitation Code-Blue Sheet for Improving Resuscitation Outcomes during Intensive Patient Care by W Bokhari – 2015 –

Integrating monitor alarms with laboratory test results to enhance patient deterioration prediction by Y Bai, DH Do, PRE Harris, D Schindler… – Journal of biomedical …, 2015 – Elsevier

Standardized colour coding for syringe drug labels: a national survey by IW Christie, MR Hill – Anaesthesia, 2002 – Wiley Online Library