Yesterday morning we had a baby code brought in, and the baby didn't make it. (Same one I started the IO on.) When the medics were still en route and we were setting up the doc asked me "What color is the baby?" (Broselow tape) It didn't occur to me to ask and it didn't occur to the medic to tell me, since our medics here have only recently begun carrying the tape. Later that day we were all sitting at the station, talking about the wisdom of getting this information and making jokes about it......"Red baby??? What's that??? Purple, you say??" Sitting on the other side of the station, out of sight, was our IF nurse, who recently lost her only child in a really messy accident. Understandably, she's had a hard time. Normally we are very sensitive about things like this but I didn't realize until then just what our conversation sounded like. She stood up to go into our med room and I saw her face....she'd been trying not to cry. I realized then that even though we did not violate HIPAA, we still need to be sensitive of those within hearing distance. I happened to know what she had been through but there are several pt gurnies within hearing distance......we don't know what others have been through. I ended up holding her for a few minutes and she was not upset...just emotional. Still, I felt like a heel.
Jan 3, '07
Don't worry about it. Healthcare workers deal with the stress of a failed code or dead pt with humor, it's a way to protect ourselves and remain detached. You acted correctly and compassionately, I'm sure she understands. I lost my husband to cancer and there are definately certain situations that set me off at times, I know it's my own feelings I need to deal with, I'm sure your friend knows that no one meant to hurt her. You aren't a heel.
Jan 3, '07
I agree you aren't a heel and I'm glad you learned a lesson from this. You are a good friend to think of her when you realized that she had heard what you were talking about. You could have been a heel if you had acted like she didn't hear what you were talking about.
Jan 3, '07
OH sweety, I understand how horrible that would feel...but that is the way it goes around the desk! And remember, you weren't the only person talking there!
I recently lost my grandma to cancer, and the day I returned to work after I found out she had died...we had a elderly woman about to pass away from cancer on our floor and how gorked she was on all her pain meds. Jokes were exchanged and such..and I even pitched in a few till my brain clicked and I felt like crying...thinking "I wonder what other medics said about my grandma".
I wasn't hurt or angry at all...just reminded me of the occurance and my grief and I needed to take a little break to compose myself. I didn't mind the banter because that is what we to most of the time instead of crying about what we see and do.
But it is always a good idea to be very cautious about medic jokes within earshot of some folks...you can't be 100% sure it won't be odd or hurtful for someone else listening...but at least being more quiet about it shows sensitivity.
Jan 3, '07
I know the nurse wasn't upset with us and that she understood. I meant that it made me realize that we need to think about the pts who can hear things said at the station. They wouldn't understand.
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