Miracle Stories

  1. How about stories about patients that have pulled through and lived decent lives despite all evidence to the contrary?

    The one that amazed me was a couple of years ago when I started out in CVICU. This gentleman had a quad-bypass and developed a sternal infection. He ended up having a sternectomy and an open chest for a couple of weeks before I took care of him. By the time he was given to me, we were packing his chest BID, he was on Levophed to keep his pressure up and dopamine for what minimal renal function he had left. He also had TPN, and dialysis at least once a day. He was so jaundiced that it was coming off on the sheets. Naturally he was vented with no hope of being weaned.

    The night I was taking care of him, I had just finished packing his chest. I turned his propofol drip down just enough to see if he was still "in there". I turned it back up again, and as he was going back under, he coughed. Hard.

    I was standing at the head of the bed. I looked down and saw a trickle of blood by his PA catheter. He had a coagulation problem and I thought he was oozing around the PA. Then I looked at his chest.

    As I watched, a small red spot on the dressing grew incredibly fast and started spurting out the sides!! I yelled for help and immediately more experienced nurses were in the room. We started pouring in fluids and blood while we called the surgeon and the OR.

    Fortunately, we had him on the table within twenty minutes and he was back in my care a hour later. He stayed in our unit for another week before being transfered to a sub-acute facility for chronic vents.

    Then...

    About four months later it was reported to me by nurses on the day shift that he and his wife walked in the door of the unit to present all of the nurses with chocolate as a way to say "Thanks!"

    The fact that he was alive was amazing. The fact that he had a quality life was a miracle.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   ComicRN
    I'm not sure that this would qualify as an actual "miracle story" but my fellow nurses and I liked to think it was!

    We had a 60-ish year old gentleman admitted to our LTC rehab unit. He had been the only person in a MVA and had been thrown over 50 feet (despite the fact that he was wearing his seatbelt). He had had massive internal injuries as well as multiple broken bones. When he arrived at our facility he was on TPN and had all sort of wires and pins and braces sticking out of his pelvis. It took 8 people to transfer him from the geri-chair they had brought him in to the bed.

    At first, he appeared to be an ornery ol' cuss (I know.....60 isn't old!!!) who was verbally abusing everyone around him, and was demanding too (imagine that!!). But, as we got to know him and he began to trust us, we just loved him. To make avery long story short, several months later, he walked out of the facility with just a walker and eating on his own. He had had several setback and one hospitalization while he was with us, but always managed to pull through.

    In one way we sorry to see him go, but obviously thrilled to see the progress he had made. He came back about once a month to see us and continued to call about once a week. We'll never forget him.
  4. by   jimminy
    Had a 29 yof brought in with 27 stab wounds. We intubated, cracked her chest, did all the standard procedures for this type of injury. We tried everything, finallly called the code. Now we know dead and this poor girl was WAY dead plus some. We quit ventilating, turned off the fluids and blood, turned her on her left side to count the wounds so we could document specifics. I was preparing to run the death strip for the chart. It had been about 2 minutes since TOD, the monitor showed asystole still. Suddenly, the CM was NSR 85, she took a breath. I'm saying Doc! she's alive. He says No! we called the code. I say her heart is beating, she has a rhythm, and she just took a breath. He looks in her chest, has a stunned look, and says "resume the code". It has been one week, the girl is awake, talking, no brain damage. We had absolutely nothing to do with saving this girls life - it wasnt her time and she had a guardian angel. Now I know you're thinking we must have called it too soon, or didnt know what we were doing, but I promise, we have done this for years and are very good at it, and this girl was dead. Absolute miracle.
    We also know to turn someone on their left side before callling a code Sure was strange documentation too.
  5. by   GPatty
    Jimminy~
    That was nothing but the Lord Jesus...
    Praise God for that girl! He has a good work for her!

    Julie
  6. by   NRSKarenRN
    In 1979, after 6 months of vague abdominal discomfort, belching and bloating, my mother-in law " Nurse Nancy LPN" was diagnosed with Ovarian CA. The surgeon came from the operating room to tell my husband and I that he was unable to remove more than ovaries "because everythng in pelvic cavity had turned to a cheesecake mush." He had gently zig-zag stitched her together and she had less than 3 months to live. Nancy accepted the news and went to HUP for palliative chemo. She had fought MS: was paralyzed on one side and partially blind in one eye in mid 40's only to go into remission, attend LPN school at age 52 and practice for 10 years fulltime before retiring at age 63.

    Nancy went to a Catholic charismatic healing mass---didn't feel any different. Went to a second mass a month later and stated that she felt a hand on her shoulder and felt an inner peace. She wasn't ready to give up---asked God to be able to see grandkids born to myself (having trouble conceiving). 18 months later, she completed chemotherapy and later participated in clinical trials for development of Epogen.

    We had given up trying to have kids after 9 years and decided to spoil all our nieces and nephews. In 1985, I had Jimmy with Joey following in 1988. Soon afterwards, Nancy developed bone marrow depression "side effect of the chemo" 9 years after chemo completed! Joeys first birthday was held in her home two hours after getting out of the hospital and 10 years after diagnosis.

    Within a week, Nancy was rehospitalized. She told me she had bargained with God to see my oldest born and attend college, but adjusted that to seeing my second childs first bithday as he was our bonus baby. She developed infections of her eyes and severe anemia with multiple transfusions given and in severe pain despite morphine drip. The nursing staff was very distraught as this was one of their own......every specialist was called into consultation.

    The nurses called us when Nancy became suddenly unresponsive and expected to die. I told the docs if anything would pull her through would be seeing her 3 1/2 yo grandson Jimmy. My sister-in-law rushed him to the hospital, as I wanted him to see that she was sick and say his last goodbye. Thirty minutes after his arrival, she sat up on the side of the bed and split a chocolate milkshake with him! "That was act two...act three not too far away" was her cryptic comment.

    Getting my husband to stop the blood transfusions, aggressive treatment against doctors advice and telling Mom it was ok to go was one of the hardest things I every did. We brought her home on a Friday evening with Clinitron air bed and dilaudid pump in her living room (24 hr nursing in those days). "First time I'm pain free in over 30 years." She enjoyed the boys crawling in bed and snuggling up against her chest when she was awake, to the astonishment of her nurses. She died peacefully the following Monday morning, three weeks after Joey's 1st birthday having gotten her wish.

    She had became my best friend after championing me thru LPN school and later BSN program. I still miss her but use what I learned from her health battles to improve my patients lives. I've seen miracles in two other clients and though this experience know that it's PRAYER and NURSES that help bring those miracles about.
  7. by   pkmom
    Wow, these stories are awesome!
  8. by   CarolineRn
    Beautiful story, Karen.
    And Nurse Nancy sounds like she was a real gem.
  9. by   CATHYW
    Excellent stories! Only God can make a miracle, but we can be his helping hands.
    One evening in ER, I had a 50ish female with asthama +PMH diabetes w/BKA, +cigarette smoker. She came in resp. distress, was put in high fowler's 02 and aerosol tx. She came around quickly, monitor slightly tachy, but sinus-no CP. I am talking with her, trying to find out what had changed since her last visit-she was a freq. flyer. I could see the monitor over her right shoulder, and saw it look like artifact. I looked back at her face, and she slumped down toward her left side. I slammed the HOB flat, said " need help in here," as I was checking for a pulse. Unresponsive, no pulse, MP v-fib. I did ye old precordial thump, and began CPR. We coded her for approx 10 min., and got her back! She was intubated, but had a rhythm and a pulse! Handed her off to ICU to take care of. 2 days later, I was in ICU to borrow something, was walking past a room, hear a voice say, "will you change the channel on my TV?" Guess who? Extubated, sitting up in high fowler's with makeup on!
    Have done CPR multiple times in 18 years, have seen 2 people leave the hospital. They make doing it worthwhile-you never know when you're working the next one that will survive!
  10. by   nursiev
    Thank you all for sharing these stories...they are truly beautiful.
    Thank you also for reminding me why I am a nurse...I am so proud to be one of you.
  11. by   shannonRN
    great stories...keep em coming!
  12. by   nicola
    I share with you the story of my mother... in 1992 she went to the dr because she was having s/s of chf. He thought she had a septal defect, but couldn't find it on the echos he ordered, so he ordered a cardiac cath. They found her pulmonary pressure to be off the chart and dx'd primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH). She was sent to the Univ of VA hospital (6 hours from home) to be worked up for a heart/lung transplant. From there she was sent to the Univ of MD (3 hours away from home) to be put on flolan, then an experimental drug for PPH.

    After she arrived in MD, they found that she really had scleroderma, but put her on the flolan anyhow. They told her it was the only thing they could possibly do for her, but didn't think the drug would work since it was designed for PPH, not scleroderma. She was also given 2 months to live. The first year was really traumatic since we were all trying to deal with her dx and were afraid every day that some thing awful would happen.

    It's been nearly 10 years and she's not only alive, but kicking! She quit her job, not because of the illness (she worked for 2 years after the dx), but because she wanted to. She goes in the hospital at least once a year with some sort of exacerbation. In spite of all this, she does exactly what she wants to! In the late summer, she was in the hospital with CHF exacerbation and came home on O2. I live in NYC and 2 weeks after the terrorist attack, she came to spend a week with me - O2 and all! We had a great time, went to a B'way show (our bit to help the economy *grin*) and she got to meet all my friends here...

    We have no idea how much longer Mom will live, but the past 10 have been pure gift. She's my hero and a walking miracle! By the way, for those of you who are reading the thread about the NANDA dx of energy disturbance, she's also been recieving healing touch weekly for the past 9.5 years! I can't tell you the difference it's made for her!
  13. by   rdhdnrs
    We got a call a few months ago from the ER for OB consult; we might have to go down and do a perimortem C/S. There was a 24year old coming in from a BAAAAD MVA. She was 24 weeks pregnant. We were on pins and needles all that day-and the next-and the next. I went to the SICU several times that week to do heart tones. Mom was intubated, broken arms and one broken leg, had lost one-third of her skull. The surgeons had just sewed the skin back over because she wasn't expected to live.

    To make a long story short, they had to take her back to surgery several weeks later to do skull reconstruction, the last time I saw her she was talking up a storm, and totally coherent, getting ready to go to rehab. She's close to term now--I can't wait to see this miracle mom and her baby!!

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