My first pedi death - page 2

by canesdukegirl 8,351 Views | 22 Comments Guide

I have been a nurse for a long time, and have seen my fair share of traumas, deaths, and unspeakable disasters. I witnessed my first pedi death a couple of weeks ago during a trauma. Usually, it takes me a couple of weeks... Read More


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    Im so sorry ((hugs)) The hardest part for me ---it is just not the natural order and parents are not supposed to bury their children. Please take care of your self and seek out help, either through EAP or maybe your local VNA/Hospice

    Take Care
    NurseDirtyBird likes this.
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    Please, definitely take advantage of debriefing and any legitimate counseling. I speak from experience. This is not something you will just be able to shake off. When it's ugly, it's even harder.

    As horrific as it is, remember that the child's suffering is over. For the family and others . .well, that's another story. No "Eazy Pass" on this one.

    Hug your kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews, kittens and puppies close. I know it sounds strange to some, but my puppies are so comforting--that and my faith, and close loved ones and friends.

    I think grief counseling is a good thing--and you can't always share this grief with your family members. Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Some people are not emotionally strong enough to be really supportive on a deeper level, which you may need right now. A good counselor should be prepared to hear you open up about it.
    Kaci82 likes this.
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    Quote from canesdukegirl
    I have been a nurse for a long time, and have seen my fair share of traumas, deaths, and unspeakable disasters.

    I witnessed my first pedi death a couple of weeks ago during a trauma.

    Usually, it takes me a couple of weeks to digest and come to terms with a traumatic event, be it personal or professional.

    I have had nightmares every night since I experienced this horrible event. The news broadcasts of this child's death has only made my heart weep more.

    To all the pedi nurses out there: how do you cope with this?
    I am so sorry and my heart breaks for the family. It is so hard and it is something you NEVER "get used to". I still remember my first pedi death. I remember her name, her age.....her heartbroken parents.

    For me this is where I find faith helps me. I am not a "religious person" per se....but I am a spiritual one. I "KNOW" that there is a "better place". I "KNOW" someone else hold the strings. I am grateful for my "calling" and gift that makes me an excellent nurse. I recognize my limitations and "KNOW" that I really don't have any influence over the outcome.

    How do you deal with it? You grieve. Talk it over with your peers. Speak to someone who specialized in trauma. I actually like to watch the news and learn as much as I can about the patient.....for me that gives me closure. I cry....I grieve....I pray. It helps me feel better. I go home and hug my family and never forget to say I love you and never go to bed angry.

    I don't try to forget.....I find that place that "knows" I am here for a reason....but I don't control the outcomes.

    Sometimes our jobs really suck. ((HUGS))
    NurseDirtyBird and NB19938 like this.
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    Agree with kaci & esme. Find someone to speak with, don't keep it inside. Peds deaths are wrenching experiences which i never want to get used to.

    Hugs
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    I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you experienced this. My thoughts and prayers to you and the child's family.
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    Quote from emtb2rn
    Agree with kaci & esme. Find someone to speak with, don't keep it inside. Peds deaths are wrenching experiences which i never want to get used to.

    Hugs

    After all this time, call me crazy, but I don't think I've ever gotten "used" to them. I am not even sure if that is possible--for a lot of people anyway.

    I have sometimes found younger infants slightly easier to deal with, in the sense that in the hospital, you don't have all these pictures of what they have done or stuff about their dreams and where they want to go. You can get sucked in somewhat to a child's life when they are talking and relating things.

    I mean loss of a child--even a pregnancy or a micro-premies--well, it all sucks. Seeing dead babies suck big time. But for some reason, those kids that really had more going on and were able to share about it, well, in a number of ways, that was harder for me. It's like their personality is able to come out more, and then you get more attached.

    The tiny infants, as much as you love them too, you address their needs, or they have their particular stage of surgery, and at least in my experience in cardiac, they move on. So I found that I actually prefer caring for them, b/c a number of other kinds of sick kids--well, their situations can be more protracted or somehow problematic--depends, and and the stories of their lives would take more of an emotional tool on me.

    Either way, how the parents dealt with the loss of their child, regardless if neonate, infant, or older, tha'ts what can really affect me and sit in my psyche. A number of parent-loss esponses I will never forget--not the sounds of their cries, the smells at the time, the sights, the touches from them. . .From a sensory overload position, it can be a lot.

    Someone has to be there, and I am glad that I have been, but in our field we just have to be honest. A number of our experiences will change us forever. It comes with what we do.
    Sally Lou and hiddencatRN like this.
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    It is experiences like yours, canesdukegirl,that keep me from working in the emergency room anymore. In the ER you have the unenviable position of bearing witness to the unthinkable - the death of a little one from trauma. I've worked in field EMS and in various areas of my level I pediatric trauma center for 18 years and I have bore witness to many children passing. It doesn't get "easier". Each death is a powerful reminder of how fragile life truly is.

    You deal with it by doing whatever it is you do to resolve stress. Talk to others, whether they be coworkers, your spouse, or someone in a professional capacity (at the hospital, private health insurance, wherever you can). When you work in this business, you have the knowledge in the back of your mind that this can happen, you just pray it doesn't happen on your shift. You go home after a shift and you embrace your children like you never have before, and you might even say a prayer for the child who was lost.

    The tears come easy, even to those of us who have seen it countless times. Our job is to do what we can to figure out the problems, do our best to fix them, and hope that they can continue to recover and go home. Many times that happens. Sometimes, unfortunately, it does not.

    Don't let this loss scare you away from something you do well. Know that what happened is an unfortunate, unwanted event. Know that you did all you could. In the end, giving your best is all anyone can ask of you. Your heart will heal, you will go on to care for more patients. Do yourself a favor and never forget the lessons learned during that event, they will serve you well as your nursing career progresses.

    I wish you all the best.

    vamedic4
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    I started my nursing career 6yrs ago in a peds ICU and have seen enough pedi deaths to last a lifetime...i think every one is different.

    One coping mechanism I find myself using is I try to find some kind of positivity in the situation...some lightness in the dark so to speak. Like maybe I made a difference and helped the family through that difficult time, or eased some suffering for the child.
    Sometimes I can't think of anything and its just horrible.
    The best thing is to talk about it with the others that went through it and just let it out.

    One thing to remember is that it is traumatizing and it is a big deal, do what you need to do to take care of yourself too.
    KelRN215 likes this.
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    What I always tell my newer coworkers, "all the bad stuff happened before you got involved. You did all you could to make it better" Sometimes better is not "saving them". Sometimes better is easing pain, supporting the family or facilitating donation. The most important thing is allow yourself a moment to grieve, it is sad. But then you have to move on. If you continue to carry the negative outcomes with you you will not be available for the next patient that needs you. Find the coping method that works best for you. Your job is not to grieve for that child, there are plenty of people doing that, your job is to protect yourself and be the best you can for that next patient. Good luck!
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    Quote from canesdukegirl
    Thanks Kel. This kid looked nothing like his pic when he came in. It was disturbing, to say the least.

    I wish that I could erase the image from my subconscious, but denial never helped anyone.

    It was difficult. It still is.
    To me, with a kid like that, I would think that if he had survived, he would have never gotten his quality of life back. I said this recently on another thread about death in children but I always find the previously normally and now neurologically devastated kids to be more devastating than the ones that don't survive.

    I am thinking of 3 kids that I worked with in the past- all previously healthy/normal kids, all completely devastated from their illnesses. Two died and rather quickly (within 3-9 months of becoming ill), the other is now wheelchair bound/quadriplegic, trach'd, G-tubed and non-verbal. After months and months in rehab, she failed to make any progress. On the door of her room, her family kept a picture of her smiling, on her way to her first day of kindergarten. Knowing that she will live and likely for a long time but will never be that child again hurts my heart so much more.


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