Heartbreaking cases are not uncommon in pediatrics... especially in pediatric oncology. I have seen some of the worst of the worst in my 5+ years of pediatric nursing. I've seen kids present with a few days of headache, be diagnosed with a whopping brain tumor and leave the hospital in a body bag several months later. In my current job, doing pediatric home visits, I pretty much believe that every child in my city has cancer.
But every now and then a case comes along that is just that heartbreaking that it really gets to me. That case came to me last week. It was not an oncology case. It was a child who was normal until he was almost 3 but developed an anoxic brain injury after his teenage sister (later diagnosed with schizophrenia and currently institutionalized) tried to strangle him. He is now total care.
I generally don't get overly emotional about my cases. Pediatric cancer is awful but I can talk about it and be realistic about my patients' prognoses. This case is just one that is particularly getting to me... abuse cases are always the worst, IMO, because you know that the child's situation was 100% preventable. With pediatric cancer, you pretty much know that it wasn't caused by anything someone did.
Have you all had these kinds of cases that just tug at your heartstrings?
Nov 23, '12
by nursel56 Guide
A two year old who was conceived after years of infertility. Parents were both professionals . . .one in neurology the other in psychology. They made instructional videos with their child to show normal developmental milestones. Then he developed a brain tumor. That was one cancer case that got to me.
Six year old girl with full-thickness burns from waist to toes from being dunked in a scalding-hot bathtub, "accidentally". Many other findings in the investigation but parents put on a good show. In the end they gave her back and they moved out of state within the week. I still wonder what that little girl's life turned out like but it haunts me.
Several cases of children rejected by parents for congenital defects who died for reasons not adequately explained by their physical conditions at the time of the death. Meaning they passed away in the hospital unexpectedly, not at home.
Last edit by nursel56 on Nov 23, '12
: Reason: clarify something