My first pedi death

  1. 2
    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?
    imintrouble and anotherone like this.
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  3. 22 Comments so far...

  4. 5
    The kids I take care of who die usually have terminal illnesses. Most have metastatic cancer. By the time they die, they are a shell of their former selves and are suffering so much that their passing is often a relief.
  5. 3
    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.
    poppycat, adt913, and anotherone like this.
  6. 1
    We have unit debriefings that are voluntary. Usually everyone who was involved in the surgery shows up. I haven't witnessed any peds deaths, but two patients I've had to ship out following emergency surgery didn't make it at the other hospital. That was hard enough. I can't imagine how bad it would be to actually witness.
    SoldierNurse22 likes this.
  7. 10
    I have had a few friends who work at another hospital I used to be in, who worked on a 2 year old who died as a result of severe child abuse. They have seen councelers as a result and have PTSD. Its definatly not something to just brush aside hoping it will get better. You should go and talk to someone professionally.
  8. 2
    I agree with twinmommy+2 -- talk to someone with some experience. Does your facility offer any kind of employee assistance plan? At the very least, seek out the chaplain or your charge nurse or someone who has been through this. You shouldn't have to navigate this alone.
    poppycat and imintrouble like this.
  9. 0
    I can't even stick a kid for an IV. I don't know how I'd survive watching one die. I hope OP, you find some peace. It makes me sad for you and the child.
  10. 2
    I'm sorry to hear that you had this experience. i don't think anyone is really equipped to take the traumatic loss of a child in stride. I know what you mean too about the media blitz not making it any easier, especially if you live in an area where this is big, ongoing news that gets drawn out (ie tearful pictures of the funeral and whatnot) Stress debriefing should be made available to whomever was on shift and encouraged by your dept manager. I've always found that talking is somewhat helpful to a point -it goes from helpful to a point of people just looking for the gory details - and that's just unnecessary, so i've also found that writing is helpful. That way i can get out what i need to and i can control the content.
    anotherone and Esme12 like this.
  11. 3
    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?

    What you are experiencing is a normal reaction to trauma. Make sure you're taking care of yourself-eating right, drinking water, taking time to relax, spending time w/loved ones, etc. I know that seems minor, but believe me that helps. Focusing on what you can control is helpful.

    Also, I encourage you to seek out an EAP (Employee Assistance Program). A lot of employers offer this service. It is free and confidential. I find it helpful to talk to a professional to sort out all the overwhelming feelings.

    Most important, give yourself time to heal. Know that you did everything you could.

    I wish you the best. I've been there many times. (((hugs)))
  12. 2
    I agree - your EAP or chaplain should be involved. Pediatric deaths are a horrible reality in our line of work - sometimes we ALL need a shoulder to cry on.
    Kaci82 and anotherone like this.


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