What was the toughest situation you encountered at the Hospital as a Nurse?

  1. I can't wait to hear your stories!!
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    About RNsoon!

    Joined: Jul '06; Posts: 88; Likes: 1

    16 Comments

  3. by   EricJRN
    A couple of months ago we had a baby in our NICU that had been there for about a month, dealing with all sorts of complications of prematurity. While the baby was pretty sick for most of that time, we all thought he would make it. We've all taken care of a lot smaller and a lot more premature babies.

    To make a long story short, the kiddo began to have seizures and it was discovered that almost half of his brain was infarcted (dead) from a stroke. I was the baby's nurse on the day the family conference was held with the docs and I ended up being the Spanish translator for the family. The docs said that the child would be lucky to survive and would be severely disabled if he did. They told the family to consider a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) or discontinuing life support altogether.

    As nurses, we usually don't deliver a prognosis like that, so it was pretty stressful, especially seeing the shock and devastation of the family and not knowing what to say (in any language) that could make it better. We kept the kid really comfortable and the family decided to discontinue life support the next day.

    I'm a fairly new nurse, but that ranks up there on my list. Thank goodness most days go better than that one.
  4. by   emsboss
    Doing CPR on a 17 month old with blanket marks in his face...While the parents sit in a lawn chair outside...Smoking...My partner and I agreed that someone got away with murder that day...Coroner report...SIDS
  5. by   RGN1
    Doing CPR, when I was a student nurse, on a guy who came in by ambulance already arrested. It turned out to be a member of the hospital staff who I'd just been chatting to the day before. He didn't make it.
  6. by   traumaRUs
    I know for me the most stressful events have involved code situations and/or a death that could have been prevented. Dealing with these situations are very difficult. Its important to get counseling or vent afterwards.
  7. by   vonxojn
    Having a 6 month old brought into the ER by ambulance D/T the father anally raping the little girl. She died from severe internal damage. Just one reason why I can't do Pediatrics. There was not a dry eye that day.
  8. by   Dalzac
    I was coming back from the pharmacy after getting an IV for my patient when I walked by the lab the lab supervisor was face down in an isolated hall. I ran over and she had no pulse and wasn't breathing I started Cpr and began screaming like a crazy woman so someone could hear me (no Phones close enough to stop) an xray guy heard me and made the phone call and started to help me. The er team didn't hear the alarm and a RT showed up and she called the ER herself It seemed like forever for them to get there The good thing she survived with a reaaly bad amnesia. that never went away but she and I became really good friends
  9. by   AuntieRN
    I was not yet a nurse when this happened. I was working in the ER as a registration clerk. The ambulance brought in a 15 year old male who had been hit and dragged by the car. EMS was doing CPR when they brought him in. He was the child of one of the nurses we worked with. This happened about 10 years ago now and still seems like yesterday. Still sends chills up my spine. It is bad enough when you do not know the people involved nevermind when you know them.
  10. by   weetziebat
    I once worked at a large facility in Las Vegas. There was a surgeon on staff who was a nice guy, did excellent surgery, but every single one of his patients came down with a nasty post-op infection.

    The hospital was, of course, very concerned. They had other surgeons in the OR watching him like a hawk to see what he was doing wrong. He himself did everything he could think of, but to no avail. Every one of his post-op patients got an infection.

    The most difficult thing for me was watching people going for surgery, many times asking me, as their nurse, what I thought of the doctor. What could I possibly say - "Oh, I think you should find another surgeon"?

    So I had to watch people going off to surgery knowing what was likely in store for them and not able to say a word. I left before any solution was figured out and I've often wondered what happened.
  11. by   RNinJune2007
    The toughest situation I experienced as an RN in the hospital was when I worked nights. I had 5 patients, and never stopped running between those. I had a patient who was getting a very dangerous medication for migranes IV (and she had to be monitored Q15minutes) I got a new admission who was having active seizures, just as I found out another one of my long time patients was also having active seizures (that had previously been well controlled). The long time patients sats were dropping to the mid 60's, woudn't respond to oxygen, and the physicians taking care of him couldn't get there quickly enough.

    I had only been working about 4 or 5 months max at that time, and I was truly so sad. The mom of the long-time patient was hysterical, and I kept getting teary thinking about her, and the patient, as well as ALL of the many things I had to do.

    It might not seem like much to read, but at the time, it was really a difficult time, both physically and emotionally.
  12. by   rnsrgr8t
    I have not worked beside in a LONG time but I when I was a new nurse, I worked in a pediatric hospital on the hematology/Oncology/BMT floor.

    Now granted this was almost 10 years ago, but we often had a lot of our patients (due to sepsis) on triple IV antibiotics. On this particular night, I had 3 patients, all on triple IV antibiotics, all on the same ones (different doses and times obviously). I gave 36 doses of IV antibiotics in 12 hours. I also gave blood/platlets that night too. I am sure I had other nights that were bad but I still remember this one clearly. That was the night I went 14 hours without peeing. I realized when I got home, I had not peed since I left for work. I remember giving report that morning (I worked nights) and the oncoming nurse was looking at my "brains" and saw how much I had scribbled on it all night and was like "wow, you had a hell of a shift". It was one of the reasons I left that floor. They would intentionally give you assignments like that (which I deamed dangerous) just to see if you could handle it. It is one thing if you have a lot of patients like this but when there are only 3 and they all go to one nurse, something is fishy.
    I know in adult med/surg this is probably nothing but in pediatricis, especially a high acuity floor (just a step down from the ICU) it was not cool. I did not make a mistake though!
  13. by   Antikigirl
    I think one of my toughest was thown at me within my first year of RN. I encountered a patient in a room next to my own patient. I heard struggled gargled breathing and there was a man spurting out massive amounts of blood out of his mouth. I ran in, hit the code button and started my ABC's!

    Apparently the man had suffered a very fatal liver condition and was bleeding out. I assessed the lungs quickly before suctioning and they were filled and he was barely breathing...even when he did it was shallow and short. I grabbed the yanker and as soon as I got a small bit of suction, blood started coming out even harder! Even suctioning was creating increased bleeding! CRUD!

    So finally the code team came, and at this point intubation wasn't even possible because he would bleed to death (like he wasn't already)...nothing we could do...he was going to die and make him comfortable.

    Could not find his nurse anywhere! So I took it upon myself to try to get him comfortable and just then a CNA came in the room. Apparently his own nurse, knowing there was nothing we could do gave up on him and just told the CNA to make his bed, clean him up for the family who routinely came in at 0800 (it was 0745). She was tugging at linens and getting in my way as I tried to help this STILL LIVING patient have a moments comfort during his death! I finally had to yell at her to get out!

    Family comes and his RN would have nothing to do with it! And my charge nurse was temp busy and said "tell them what you know..." THANKS! So I greet the family outside the door (with it opened enough for me to see the patient) and explained the happenings of the AM. The family was furious and in histerics...one about hit me in the chest saying "why didn't you save him"....uhgggggg!

    So the MD finally comes in after taking a shower and eating his breakfast at home (as I found out later) and said that this was sudden and there was nothing anyone could do...that he had a sudden heart attack and died. Okay not what happened at all and wouldn't account for the macabre of blood all over the room!

    Okay fine, not my probelm anymore...I got it handed off to the right folks and my patients needed me. Then the MD gets a hold of me and asks what happened, I explained...and he DARED to tell me that his lungs were clear and he just bit his tongue! Ummmmm no...he was projectile vomiting liters of blood about 4 inches in the air supine and tongue intact!!! It was all over the room!!!!!!!

    Okay so basic story...he denied anything I said, said the patient was not terminal (which he was but he had not told the family...so total CYA on his arse), and I got labled a troublemaker!

    Took a long time before my fellow nurses saw that I was right and they should be leary of this doc! That he would sell his own grandmother up the river to protect himself!

    That was a very frustrating and tough day for me...seeing such a horrid death, a screaming family that felt I just let him die, being told that I was wrong and lying, people believing it, self doubt, worry, wondering if I would be sued or my license taken...all of it!

    I worked there 3 more months before another thing happened that had me walking out after shift and never returning...but that is a whole nother fun story...LOL!
  14. by   Antikigirl
    Oh yeah btw...the patient was a long term alcoholic had blown a huge varices in his esph during the AM from a cough, and his liver was no longer functioning. Not only did his GI tract back up over the past few days (no ng or anything to counter that), but he had no platelets to stop this bleeding anymore (blood tests showed this happening for a week...and no platelets or transfusions were done!!!!). It was documented he was terminal by that very MD!!!!!

    He did indeed bleed to death, filled his lungs up first by aspirating on the blood over and over again till the lungs could take no more...and he had no other recourse but to vomit the blood hitting his gag reflex!

    But of course that wasn't told for weeks till I insisted ad nauseum in the guise of 'learning to be a better nurse by researching this case'. HOw it got to the rest of the nurses in that hospital I have no idea really...but it was general knowledge after I found out!

    I still feel vendicated, but also still...even almost 8 years after the fact...well...pis*ed!!!!!

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