We lost a mom to HELLP!!!

  1. To sum it up, at the start of our 1900 shift we have a mom who had seized following vaginal delivery in the midday. When our shift started mom was breastfeeding her baby, on Mag Sulfate and diagnosed with HELLP syndrome. By the end of our shift she was in ICU following a bilateral craniectomy basically brain dead. This was by far, the worst thing i'd ever seen. She suddenly became unresponsive to anything including painful stimuli, blew her R pupil, was in OR within 2 hours of the event and from what the neurologist told us she herniated her brain, due to hemmorhage and cerebral edema. Our perinatologist said he's never seen something like this happen so quickly. Within a 24 hour period her platelets dropped from one hundred something to 37. Have any of you ever seen anything like this? I'm always so careful with my PIH pts but I will never look at another the same again. Your thoughts???
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   SandraJean
    I had HELLP with my first pregnancy. It was scary. I needed 4 transfusions, my BP went throught the roof, and I was close to having seizures. My kidneys shut down. I was lucky, though. I still believe that they should have done the C-section sooner, but I think they really weren't sure of what to do with me. This was in 80's and I've heard that HELLP wasn't seen too often.
    I know I freaked a lot of people out. I'm sorry you had to experience this.
  4. by   RNin2007
    Same here...I had it with both of my pregnancies, my kidneys shut down as well and I had cerebral edema with my second birth. Both of my kids were 1lb and 2 lb preemies (born 3 yrs apart)...and it was quite scary to go through that. I had an emergency C sect both times and they didn't think i'd make it the second time. I am sure you did all you could...sometimes a patient can take a turn that you aren't expecting. I did that to my doctors and nurses and could barely sign consent before I had my c-sect.
    =(

    ~J
  5. by   Jessy_RN
    I am so sorry to read this.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Lord have Mercy, I am so sorry. Sometimes, things happen over which we have no control; this makes it impossible to deal. PLEASE PLEASE see your EAP about some counseling and debriefing. ANYtime a patient is lost this way, you need to talk it out, with peers and perhaps, even alone, with a qualified person trained to help you cope. Hopefully, your manager/management team will set up a de-briefing for all involved in this situation. If not, SUGGEST IT!!!! DO NOT under-estimate how hard this will be on you in the weeks to come; deal with it now, so you don't have to suffer PTSD-like issues later on. I am so sorry. This is just tragic.
  7. by   babynurselsa
    I agree with Deb.
    The worst one I have seen was a mom who suffered an amniotic embolus during a routine scheduled c/s.
    As she went into dic and bled out all over the OR floor. They had to throw down blankets to stand on. Poor family walked around like zombies. No one ever sees something like this coming. One of the saddest days I have ever worked ,thus far. My condolonces to all affected.
  8. by   NRSKarenRN
    {{{{{{ warm hug from pa}}}}} to help you get through the coming days.


    i've heard of this syndrome before, but no experience. anytime a unexpected death occurs in a perceived healthy patient, health care professionals are often devastated over their involvement in the case, rehashing events for days even weeks. agree strongly with smiling:
    Quote from smilingblueyes
    anytime a patient is lost this way, you need to talk it out, with peers and perhaps, even alone, with a qualified person trained to help you cope.
    i still to this day remember an evening shift, pulled to icu in early 80's and prepping a patient about 11 pm for emergency surgery. she was 24. i tried to put her at ease that i would be her rn upon return from surgery and told the surgeon that i needed five more minutes to get her ready (can't remember doing what)----was devastated when the surgeon told me 2 hours later that she died of cardiac tamponade. to this day i wonder if i'd gotten her to or 5 minutes sooner would it have made a difference.

    please feel free to talk about this anytime on the bb.

    some resources:
    management - september 1 ...

    hellp syndrome - wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    the hellp syndrome society
  9. by   RaeT,RN
    Only more proof that YOU JUST NEVER KNOW. Wow. That is all I can say.
  10. by   mugwump
    All I can say is Labor and delivery is supposed to be a happy place. It usually is. But when it is bad. (usually very far and few between) It is the WORST.
    Big hug
  11. by   Kim44
    I'm so sorry. I really hope that your unit does some kind of debriefing for the staff.
  12. by   babyktchr
    Quote from mugwump
    All I can say is Labor and delivery is supposed to be a happy place. It usually is. But when it is bad. (usually very far and few between) It is the WORST.
    Big hug
    Egads, it is so true......when it is bad it is bad bad bad. What a terrible shame.
  13. by   Dayray
    I'm sorry this happend =(.

    Even with all our technology and good care it still happens. Please take care of your self and co workers. Maternal death hurts nurses bad, more then you expect it too.
  14. by   LauraLou
    I am so sorry! I went thru something similar in June. We lost a mother on Antepartum due to a brain aneurism. I still get upset when I think about her. It was such a tragedy. I had feelings of shock, guilt, anger and grief. Talking about it with other people really helped me.

    My prayers will be with you and her family.

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