SIDS Pediatric Code

  1. So I'm a new nurse, I just passed my 6 month mark. I took a job at a smaller, but very busy ER right out of nursing school. We have a great time there, I love my coworkers. There's just something special that you can't relate to people that don't work in stressful environments. It reminds me a lot of the camaraderie you find in the military.

    When we got the call that a 5 month old was coming full arrest the tone in the entire ER shifted immediately. Everyone was instantly all business. Now I may be a new nurse, but I was a tech through nursing school in an ICU, and I'm no stranger to codes. In fact I love them. I love the adrenaline, the pace, the teamwork, the interventions. I'm what you would call a code junkie. Everyone kept telling me, "It's different with kids." Well I didn't know what to think about that. I've got young children, and every time I tried to think about it from my own perspective I wound up nauseated and just pushed it down into the pit of my stomach and went on about my business.

    When they brought this baby in she had been down for at least 20 minutes. (When they called report we didn't have much to go on. We knew they were working hard to save this baby, so we just prepared for the worst.) When the came through the bay the medics were obviously frantic, but had intubated her. We were shuffling for an IO access when my best friend rocked a 24 in a single stick in her little hand. I was calling out dose calculations, our charge nurse was drawing meds, techs were alternating on compressions, and another talented newer grad was record keeping.

    Our doc was "emptying the cart on her."

    We tried everything.


    After 20 minutes, Mom got there.

    We told the doc - "She needs to be in here." She needs to see that everything possible was done for her child. The chaplain guided Mom in and sat her next to me so she could hold the baby's hand. We just kept going.

    Probably 20 rounds of Epi. Doc finally called it. And I just hit my knees.

    I could feel everyone else around me doing the same. And we just prayed. We prayed for that baby, and we prayed for her family. It was a moment that will be forever with me. It is different with kids. Right or wrong, it just is.

    In that moment I felt like I was EXACTLY where I was supposed to be in this world. I just took a PRN job at a lvl 1 pediatric ED.

    I just needed to share that.
    Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Sep 12, '12 : Reason: formatting/spacing
  2. Visit harrird profile page

    About harrird, ADN, RN

    Joined: Feb '12; Posts: 34; Likes: 36
    RN, CEN, CCRN; from US
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in Emergency, CVICU


  3. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    It really is different when it's a child, isn't it? the mood in the room changes dramatically. Efforts will continue a lot longer than for an adult, who after 20 minutes is pretty much done for unless the CPR was of the highest quality. And there's the added layer of tragedy that this child, this baby, is dead when she hadn't even had a chance to live and her mom is never going to see her grow up. It's a hard job but a worthwhile one. Thank you for your good work.
  4. by   jmsnkids
    Good morning--I just wanted to tell you that you are such a blessing....
    I have been a peds RN for thirty plus years and was the coordinator of a state SIDS support group and research program. Your tender words about this tragedy bring back lots of memories, good and bad, for me. I know you are and will continue to be a great nurse and have the heart it requires to love kids and their families.
    God bless you on your exciting and so rewarding journey.
    JeanMarie---"KidsRN" from San Francisco
  5. by   7feetunder
    God bless you..
  6. by   That Guy
    Im glad there are people like you out there. I had my first peds code about a month ago and I think a little part of me died inside that day.
  7. by   JustBeachyNurse
    Beautifully written, unfortunately it felt like I was there with you. I will never forget my first pedi code (2 year old drowing during a family party. Under water for >10 minutes, no one noticed that no one was watching until the child's 5 year old sibling found the baby face down in the pool and screamed).

    As a mom and a nurse, I certainly appreciate that you took the cues from mom and not only had her in the room at her baby's side but the chaplain there for support.

    You have definitely found your niche. Not everyone can handle such a difficult scenario and later write about it. Kudos to you.
  8. by   harrird
    Thanks so much for all the kind words. I literally typed out that post in about 10 minutes before leaving for work. I just felt compelled to write about this little girl. It's so easy to develop a callousness in our profession and this is a part of my life I don't want to have to bury to survive long term. I just feel like these moments need to be breathe. I'm thankful this community provides an outlet for topics like these.
  9. by   Esme12
    ((HUGS)) This baby will stay with you forever. This is "The day" that changed your path. I personally always loved peds for no matter what I put that baby through.......a hug can make them feel better. Your triumphs will be greater and the failures devastating and some over whelmingly sad.

    Peds IS either LOVE it or hate it(or secretly fear it) as an ED nurse. The path will choose you and I think it's clear today where you will be going.

  10. by   withasmilelpn
    My son died of SIDS - thank you for being such a special nurse.
  11. by   sweetgeorgia
    Amazing story of courage and hope. My hat goes off to you.
  12. by   chaka_1709
    *Hugs* Your story brought tears to my eyes.

    I'm a nursing student and I'm not sure if it was in class or on a thread here that was discussing whether family members should be in the room during a code. I think it is much more important to include the parents of a child than the children of a parent during the code because children are much more unexpected (in most cases). I'm sure the mom appreciated seeing that y'all did everything you could in order to save her baby's life.
  13. by   merlee
    I know that a code in PEDS is always different, and it is hard to describe why. You wrote this very well.

    I know it is frequently a good thing for a family member to be in the room, regardless of who the patient is, during a code. Families want to know that 'everything' was done if that was their goal.

    Keep us informed about your career path.

    Best wishes!
  14. by   Crazed
    I lost a child to SIDS in 2004. It was a grueling and horrible experience but one I have learned from. That mother has some dark days/week/months/years ahead of her but hopefully she has a strong support system. Reading the latest genetic research on SIDS there really isn't anything we can do. There is no such thing as "near miss SIDS" and once a child starts down the SIDS path there is no turning back. The latest link from Hopkins has to do with defective genes and serotonin which honestly makes a lot of sense. My child was a winter baby in a cold climate but was always sweating.

    By the time we awoke to find my child it was far too late.In a way I am glad I didn't have to wrestle with the trauma of a code as well. As the mother to a SIDS baby, thank you for feeling the importance of the child. More often than not, because our children die so young no one feels their loss in the same way the immediate family does, much in the way no one knows what the mother of a stillborn or miscarried mother goes through. In the end it is the same, the death of promise.