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TW: infant death, my first pediatric code

Killing time before I have to get up for work. I wanted to write this down while it was still fresh.

The last night I worked, I had 3 patients. That's quite a lot for icu, even if they were not true icu patients. So I ran my ass off for the first 4 hours of my shift. And then we got an admission. The patient was coding as we got her and she didn't make it. It was very surreal; the baby didn't even look real. She was a strange color and her face was distorted. I'd never been a part of a pediatric code before but I got put in the recording role as I had in the past. For those who don't know, there are multiple roles during a code. It doesn't look like what you see on TV. We had a nurse and a pharmacist drawing up meds, another nurse administering, a RT bagging, the doctor directing as well as trying to intubate the patient and give compressions, a NP relieving the doc every 2 minutes, and me, writing everything down and keeping time, telling everyone when things were due and when to switch spots to get a break. We also had a runner for supplies and another nurse if we needed another pair of hands. All for one tiny baby. Her parents acted as if it wasn't happening until it was over. And then everything stopped. I wish I could describe the scene adequately; the huge mess from all the supplies surrounding this tiny form, the mother almost screaming and the father stoic. They had been at a holiday party and were dressed fancily. I would have burned that dress as soon as I got home, if I were that mother.

The rest of the night, they stayed in the room holding their child. I had a newborn in a room nearby and I was quick to quiet her when she cried, trying to make her sleep as much as possible so hearing her wouldn't cause that family any more pain. I couldn't help comparing it to losing an adult and still can't decide which was harder. They both had people who loved them and so much ahead of them.

Our interim manager called in the morning and complimented me and my coworkers on how well we did. The three of us nurses had been hired in at the same time and we were considered not competent to handle the sicker kids - and they weren't shy in letting us know they felt that way about us. Only the charge nurse was experienced. I didn't want to accept any compliments. We didn't save her. I still felt like I couldn't succeed at this job and we only stayed on track because we had someone directing us who had done it a hundred times. All I felt was how much pain those parents were in and wishing things were different.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 23rd, 2016 07:16 pm (UTC)
I feel for the parents so much and I feel so much awe towards you and the team. I could never be a nurse or a doctor and I know that it takes someone with so much love, compassion, and courage to do it. I know you don't hear it enough, but thank you for all that you do!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )