I was switching my patients nasal cannula over to a nonmask rebreather with a PCA tech. The pt must be on oxygen at all times so I had someone help me. When the PCA switched patient over from nasal cannula to nonmask rebreather I somehow accidently plugged in the wrong O2...Somehow I replugged the nasal cannula tube back into the air supply. After a few seconds I noticed the nonmask rebreather was not inflating with oxygen so I quickly saw my mistake and switched the tube quickly back to the nonmask rebreather. Pt. oxygen went from 85 to 60(when we were switching his oxygen) back up to 88-90. (pt. was on 15L nonmask rebreather and 12L nasal cannula)
I feel really bad that I caused his oxygen level to get that low due to my mistake in plugging in the wrong tube. After that mistake pt was fine, he was laughing, joking around, no problems. About 36hrs later, I found out patient had passed away. Could I have caused a problem? I am a nursing student and I feel awful. Since his death I think about everything I did that day from "did I hang the correct IVPB", "did this O2 level cause something bad to happen", he also had gotten insulin (BS 298) and he ended up not eating his lunch except for a few peaches so I think "what if I bottomed pt. out and he went into a coma...." I always think worse case scenario. I keep talking about it and I try to figure out my day and what I did and I keep blaming myself for his death because I feel like I had a horrible day at clinical.
I don't want to contact my instructer again about it because I think she'll think I'm crazy. I talked to her and she said "you did nothing to cause this man's death." Though she doesn't know about the O2 instance. My thoughts are becoming very obssessive, and I cry about it. Can someone give me some advice on how to deal? What do you think about my scenario?
Feb 20, '12
Honey chances are since this pt's O2 needs were so high, he had one foot in the grave before you ever touched him. I know you feel at fault possibly but know that he eventually would have passed and if his O2 sat plummeted that quickly he was very, very sick.
Last edit by DookieMeisterRN on Feb 20, '12