Non-viable baby, born alive -parent won't hold him, what do you do? - page 9

OK, so here's what happened - and it's not the first time we've had this dilemma. We had a pt come in with severe, unmedicated schizophrenia, homeless, and imminently going to deliver a 21-22wk... Read More

  1. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from DeeSki
    Thanks so much for the compassion. After so many years go by (10) nobody quite gets it, that the pain is never gone. I very rarely discuss it with people in person, online is so much easier.
    Yes I am in school now, my first semester of clinical so probably next year I will get more exposure to these areas. One of the students in my program who graduated in May got her first job directly in the NICU so I'll definitely be asking her for input.
    I wish you the very best. You are always welcome to vent to me anytime. Good luck.

    deb
  2. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from ragingmomster
    We are a large unit and when we have a non-viable infant who is born alive s/he is left alone in a basinette in the dirty utility room and a nurse has to check on them every 1/2 hour. I have only worked here for 4 months, but I am not the only one who is disgusted by this pattern, any thoughts on how I can be an "agent of change"?
    this makes my blood boil.:angryfire
  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    one more thought:

    you can be a agent of change by MODELING it. Never allow anyone to warehouse a dying preemie in a dirty utility closet. Follow your heart in such situations and treat the dying preemie as you would any dying human being. Be there, touch and hold him/her and say goodbye, if you are inclined. Model the change. And definately have some discussions with the manager and at staff meetings about human dignity in dying.

    Read my tagline: (dignity is not negotiable). I believe it. I think we all need to live it.

    deb
  4. by   jeepgirl
    Quote from mari31666
    i just want to let you know that where i work we don't have policies about such things. usaully the parents hold their baby past the point of death. the other night i was covering another nurses pt. the couple did not want to see the baby at all. 17 wks multiple genetic anomalies. baby was born alive with heart beating and it beat for several hours. the nurse asked me about paper work and i then learned that it was still alive and she placed it in the dirty utility room. i was horrified. her reply to me when i asked who was with it was "what do you want me to do? hold it?" i went back and saw it and held it and talked to it (sex undetermined) prayed something and i rested it back comfortably to check on my own two patients in triage. when i came back, the poor sould had passed. needless to say i was sickened and disgusted by this nurse, whom i never really had a great liking of to begin with. and she is senior and i'm only new nurse of 1 yr, and hear all the comments of how i will learn and change. everyone pray that i never lose this sensitivity. otherwise i will have to have someone tell me it's time to move on when i do.
    This is very sad. It is a total disregard for human life. You would think that an OB / GYN nurse would "get it"... but this one obviously doesn't. I would go as far as to go to the higher ups on this one. It is a total lack of compassion to the dying child. Usually, we would swaddle it, give to the parents (if they wanted it) or we would put it someplace private and comfortable (warm and secluded - NOT a dirty utility closent) if staff was completely unable to stay with the baby. However, that would only be in extreme cases... most nurses would hold the baby and try to comfort it until it passed. I would even imagine that in our hospital (Catholic) that they may even call up a member of the clergy (one of the ministers, priests or nuns) to stay with the baby if staff is unable to sit with it until it passes and the parents are unable to do so.
  5. by   BlueYYsRN
    I think anyone who works in OB-GYN, Nursery or NICU for awhile is confronted with this.

    I remember about 12 years ago, there was an emergency c/s for a preterm, non-viable baby to save the moms life. I dont remember why she had to deliver but she was very sick and it was done under general anesthesia. I took the baby to the nursery as it was born alive and had to call in a pediatrician in order to pronounce it once it died. We took turns holding the baby and listening for a heartbeat. The poor little guy didnt want to give up. The pediatrician got there, looked at the baby and told me to go ahead and take it to the morgue. I told him to go ahead and sign the death certificate and I would send the baby to the morgue after it was really gone. We kept the baby in warm blankets and once the mom came out of the OR I asked her if she wanted to see him. She was very happy and held him for awhile telling him all the plans she had had for him. She was very grateful. I couldnt imagine taking a child to the morgue while it was living.
  6. by   Deidre Shiobhan
    May I know how old is this baby ( gestation age )? why didn't the doctor attempt to salvage this little kid if he's still alive, was he too small and maybe medical technology wasn't so advance then?
  7. by   enfermeraSG
    Quote from mari31666
    i just want to let you know that where i work we don't have policies about such things. usaully the parents hold their baby past the point of death. the other night i was covering another nurses pt. the couple did not want to see the baby at all. 17 wks multiple genetic anomalies. baby was born alive with heart beating and it beat for several hours. the nurse asked me about paper work and i then learned that it was still alive and she placed it in the dirty utility room. i was horrified. her reply to me when i asked who was with it was "what do you want me to do? hold it?" i went back and saw it and held it and talked to it (sex undetermined) prayed something and i rested it back comfortably to check on my own two patients in triage. when i came back, the poor sould had passed. needless to say i was sickened and disgusted by this nurse, whom i never really had a great liking of to begin with. and she is senior and i'm only new nurse of 1 yr, and hear all the comments of how i will learn and change. everyone pray that i never lose this sensitivity. otherwise i will have to have someone tell me it's time to move on when i do.
    I can't stand it when people say that. I have been around this field for 8yrs, and (regardless of the specialty) I think that if I ever start "not feeling" or become calloused etc, then it will be time for me to find a new line of work. SG
  8. by   SweetieRN
    I work in a high-risk OB unit were fetal deaths are pretty much a weekly event . The bottom line here is to respect the patient's wishes. It is hard as a nurse to imagine a baby being all alone to die, but then that's where we need to step in. We wash and dress our babies, put diapers on them, and swaddle them just as we would a normal full-term live infant. We even take digital photos of them and put them on a disk to give to the parents. It's a very sad event for everyone, even the nurses - the stress level is very high and emotions are very strong
  9. by   Nurse-To-Be-Joy
    I cried the whole way through this thread. Bless you all for taking care of these poor little babies who have no one else. I can't believe ANY hospital would allow an infant to die alone like that. That is so sad and would never do that for an adult. I can't wait until I'm a nurse. I would love to work in the NICU.
  10. by   rgrgray
    you woman are amazing, i hope one day to be a compasionate nurse just like all of you! whether it is acknowledged (sp) or not you make a difference! those little babies are born with a soul and you might have been the only person to have touched it! godbless
  11. by   RuralNP4KIDS
    Great job to all of you!!!!
    My only experience with this was when I was a nurse in the ED at a children's hospital. We were notified of paramedics coming in with a newborn not breathing. I was in the trauma room to receive the pt and a big burly medic came in with tears in his eyes with a tiny baby cradled in one hand. He apologized to me "I'm sorry I just didn't have an ETT small enough". We put the baby on the bed and lucky for the baby neonatology was in the room and estimated gestational age at about 21 weeks and told us not to intervene. The baby had a HR and agonal breathing. (You know us ED nurses we would have put in lines, gave meds, etc if neonatology wasn't there. Not enough experience with gestational age!) There were 3 nurses in the room. We all took turns holding and rocking the baby until she passed. It was probably the most difficult night of my life.
    I give credit to those of you who have had this experience more than once and have treated your patients and their families with the compassion and love they deserved.
    Kathy
  12. by   Q.
    Quote from Cute_CNA
    I am not a mother, or a nurse, but I don't think there's anything unusual about your reaction. I think that once you become a mother, you gain a whole new perspective because children are now a huge part of your life. I guess it helps you to truly understand what it's like.
    ITA. As an L&D nurse I would hear of and most certainly deal with these tragedies alot. I would cry. It would hurt.

    As a mom now, I think it hurts me a bit more because I envision my own 2 going through that. I think of my poor little girl or sweet boy being born non-viable. They were both 32 weeks and survived and thrived.

    I'm not sure I could hold them either, especially if they were ancephalic or some other major deformity. I think as an expectant mom you have a vision in your head of what your child will look like; if born premature and under those conditions, you almost want to preserve that thought in your head rather than remembering them as they probably were, with half a brain or oozing brain matter.
  13. by   Altalorraine
    Believe it or not some people think it is a sick, grotesque mockery to diaper and dress a dead or previable fetus. People are no doubt well intentioned, but any one person's passionately held beliefs may not be shared by others, including the parents. People can be sentimental about beating hearts regardless of whether there is an intact nervous system, but the absence of such sentimentality does not equal callousness.

    Altalorraine

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