Monday, October 28, 2002

NOT EVERY PATIENT CAN BE SAVED!

The hardest lesson to learn is that sometimes no matter what you do, we human beings ultimately do not have the last word.
I lost a patient today - an older woman who was living (living?) in a nursing home. She "arrested" at the home but the EVAC people got her back and brought her to the ER. They lost her again (this poor woman was trying to go to another adventure and we just kept putting up roadblocks). When I brought her up to intensive care, she was unresponsive and her pupils were fixed and dilated (a sure sign of severe brain injury/death) but we were unable to reach her daughter because her grandson answered the phone and said "I'm not going to wake up my mother for this at 1:00 a.m.", and hung up on the doctor. Then he took the phone off the hook!
I spent the night keeping her alive via machines and drugs and trying to reach her daughter.
Finally, early this morning I reached her - can you imagine how upset she was to learn about her mother? It was awful. She had to take a taxi in to see her mother and while she was in the room, her mother passed. Thank God she made it to the bedside before I lost her.
My grief is not for my patient; she was very ill and her daughter said she had a good life - my grief is for her daughter - what kind of child would take the phone off the hook!!!!!