First Code



  1. I had my first code this morning.. I was in a room working on another patient when I heard them call a code blue on my floor, then they said the room number of MY patient.. I take off down the hall and the code team has already made it... Unfortunately the patient did not... The patient had lymphoma, and the dr said he had a major infection and was septic.. WBC 0.7... The patient had just had chemo on monday and started feeling bad like 2 days later.... The doctors said there was nothing anyone could have done.. But it is still freaky... Especially since I had just spoken to the daughter and she said he is a healthy person.... Definately not what I saw... The patient couldn't talk to me, I could call his name and he would move his eyes but that is about it.. noone came in with the patient when he was brought to the floor, so I didn't know if this was his norm or what... I had last been in the room probably between 6 and 6:30, they pronounced him at 7:45 and said he probably had been gone for 20mins or so... The only thing off to me was his respirations... they would go anywhere from 26-36, checked his pulse ox and it was 97-98% with only 2l O2... I even had the charge nurse check him, and we thought possibly it was the haldol they gave him in ER prior to bringing him to us (15-20mins) And this could have been the way he was, I just wish the wife/ex-wife would have showed up to help admit him..

    UGH this part of nursing sucks.. And the daughter was driving in from out of town to check on her dad.. No idea he die..
    Last edit by Ortho_RN on Apr 23, '04
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Renee' Y-Y
    You will learn through time that most patients are better off dying quickly. I have been in nursing about 17 years now, but started as a CNA at age 16...I have seen death alot. I have come to believe that those that die quickest without suffering are truly the most fortunate. You will see many that you wish could pass quickly...and won't...for a variety of reasons. Just pray for him and his family.
  4. by   missmercy
    Codes are something else! I will never forget my first one -- was so calm, cool and collected -- organized and professional -- until we sat down to chart.......... started to shake and cried!!!and cried and cried.... knew I did what I was supposed to do -- felt so helpless. Have learned a valuable lesson over the years -- I am merely responsible to do my best -- the outcome is up to God ( or a higher power, or fate....) to handle. Even when my "healthy" patient dies -- I can sleep at night knowing that while he was my patient, he got the best care I could give and that for those hours (or minutes, or days) he was well cared for.

    I have to agree with the previous post -- sometimes death is not a bad thing -- compared with the long term suffering that som many face. It is however, a real bummer to have to be the one to inform family members who are not even remotely expecting to loose their loved on. We have a "pastoral care team" that is on call to come in and support families 24/7. It helps.
  5. by   P_RN
    I'm sorry for your loss. Lymphoma does it that way sometimes. My friend's husband was fine a Friday and by Sunday he died.....not a heart attack -lymphoma.
  6. by   TREBORICUNURSE
    Sorry for your loss, but coping with death is part of our job. In my career I have seen a lot of death in my ICU: old people, adults, teens and childrens. If you think about these people, their family, tragic situations... soon your mental health is under big pressure.
    My advise: Do your job without mistakes, and if patients die pray for him and his family. After that turn inner switch and continue with your job.
    It`s not easy but I think this is the best way to save own mental health.
  7. by   Ortho_RN
    Thanks everyone... I do know that I did all I could.. But parts of me were saying, why didn't you go back down and check on him, but honestly my checking on him at 6:15-6:30 was good b/c I was in the middle of passing meds and hanging IVs, so actually "seeing" people during that time is a lil hard when you have 10people to pass morning meds on... Of course all the what ifs run through your head. What if I called the doctor about his respirations, what if? But his respirations were like that in ER and it wasn't a "change" from me admitting him... I just woke up and of course I wake up with a headache, I'm sure due to worrying about this... But I have to stop.. I'm sure he will not be my first patient that I lose... The doctor did make me feel better when I was talking to him, when he said that no matter how many times we were in and out of the room it probably would have happened no matter what we did.. I just feel horrible for the daughter, who was on her way to help get her dad back to his old self...
  8. by   jnette
    (((HUGS))) Ortho. Sorry for your feelings of loss and troubled emotions.

    You did and gave your best. We hurt for the families sometimes more than for the one who is eased from a hopeless or painful situation. Pain and loss affect us all... it goes full circle... patients, family, nurse.

    Take a warm bubblebath and soothe your soul. :kiss
  9. by   BabyRN2Be
    Ortho,

    It sounds like you did all you could do. You checked with the charge nurse and she said that his respiration was OK for him. I know that it's sad, but there's nothing that you did/did not do. He had lymphoma, and he was probably going to die. I know that this is your first code and it does affect you. Try to give yourself a break, you did the right thing, OK? (((hugs)))

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