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I Hurt A Patient

Updated | Posted

Has 1 years experience.

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Going into hour 16 or 17 of my shift tonight, the scrub tech and I were getting the patient cleaned up on the OR table before transferring back to ICU. We turned the patient away from me, I began to clean the pt up, the tech lost grip, the pt fell off the table towards said tech, who, thankfully, broke much of the fall. But the pt did fall. The intubated, sedated, helpless pt. Literally my worst nightmare. Anesthesia was present. Pt remained intubated and as stable as he/she had been throughout the case (it was tenuous), although we lost central access at that time. 

I’ve been home for several hours now and cannot sleep, because every time I close my eyes I see what happened. I have to be back to work in a few hours, but cannot fathom trying to take care of patients when I know what I’ve done - the incompetence, the negligence, the physical harm I’ve caused. We literally had this pt’s life in our hands, and I failed him/her. It’s a special kind of incompetence where you literally drop a god damn helpless pt. I feel such shame. I was the nurse, it was my job to keep this pt safe. But I caused harm. For context, I’ve been a nurse for going in 10 years, from Med-surg to ICU, never an event like this. 

I’m not looking for sympathy, I received plenty from the physicians involved. Just looking for validation of my feelings - that I no longer deserve to be a nurse. 

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

First thing you need to do is call off... now.  You are in no shape to go back to work.

16 hour shifts will cause injuries and errors. You said it yourself, the tech lost their grip.

Get some REST. Analyze the root cause after.

Edited by Been there,done that

32 minutes ago, MInurse.st said:

Just looking for validation of my feelings - that I no longer deserve to be a nurse. 

Won't be getting that here. Having feelings is valid. Feeling you do not deserve to be a nurse isn't. You need to call you EAP immediately. 

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

1 hour ago, MInurse.st said:

Just looking for validation of my feelings - that I no longer deserve to be a nurse. 

I am sorry this happened.

Feelings are emotional reactions not necessarily based in reality, Mlnurse.

Reality: You're human and you will make mistakes.

Follow the advice of BTDT and Wuzzie.

 

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

That is horrible in all ways. I think you are exhausted and traumatized and need a few days off to recover and maybe talk to someone. It is a very unfortunate thing that happened. Need to find ways to prevent it in the future (down the road). However, it does not negate your worth as a good nurse who was doing everything they could to care for their patient. Not everything in the universe is under your control.  You must accept that.

 

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

This is not the type of thing that one person can be completely responsible for. From personal experience, I know that you probably feel like the loneliest person in the world right now, but you're not alone.

We've all been tortured by an exceptionally bad day at least a few times. Unfortunately, time is often the only "cure". There's probably not much anyone can do or say ...you just need time to work through all the bad thoughts and feelings in your head.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

Oh man. My heart hurts for you SO BAD. This was an accident. Human error, not even yours. Please, please, please seek help with EAP or a peer you trust and don't go back to work until you feel you are ready. You truly, truly deserve a break.

I'm going to say it, and I mean it kindly: The self-deprecation is not appropriate.

It's really terrible. Don't do this to yourself, you don't deserve it and the things you are saying just aren't correct anyway. You are exhausted.

Everything's okay. You are okay too.

Get rest. 💮💛

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 19 years experience.

Way back when I was starting as an EMT a preceptor told me "Number one rule is don't drop the patient. Number 2 rule see rule number !"

So we are walking a Guerny across a parking and I had only a light grip on the guerney as I ASSUMED my preceptor had a hold on the guerny as well. Go up a slight grade I felt the guerny slide sideways and as I turned to catch it I lost my grip on the guerney and it flipped      so that the man on the guerny ended up face down on the pavement.
 

I was mortified and considered quitting but I was encouraged by co-workers and persevered and I late became a nurse. While dropping a patient is never good what matters is if the patient suffered harm as a part of this occurance. 

Hppy

 

I used to work in the OR as an RN. I have worked a long shift like you did. I have worked with barely minimum help (this is a regular occurrence especially when I was on call).
What I have learned working there was that many incidents are preventable ONLY IF SUFFICIENT STAFF ARE AVAILABLE to begin with. Please stop beating yourself up.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Repeating everyone else here - stop beating yourself up!

Many a nurse has made a med error or other and has felt like you also.

It's not like you did something deliberately.

Give yourself the time off to re-set your focus. And seek EAP for counseling and support.

 

TXRocks

Specializes in Nurse monitored in WI and TX. Has 11 years experience.

Accidents will occur for a reason. Mostly for professional growth. I validate your feelings totally. Take some me time and regroup. I'll say a prayer for you.🙏

litepath2

Specializes in ICU/Burn ICU/MSICU/NeuroICU. Has 11 years experience.

If this happened to your best friend, RN, what would you say to them? 

On 11/24/2020 at 7:11 PM, JKL33 said:

I'm going to say it, and I mean it kindly: The self-deprecation is not appropriate.

It's really terrible. Don't do this to yourself, you don't deserve it and the things you are saying just aren't correct anyway. You are exhausted.

Everything's okay. You are okay too.

Get rest. 💮💛

Totally agree with this. I work in quality. Mistakes happen and most of them have root causes that are not one person. 

I'll also tell you what a conscious patient I dropped once said to me, "I need you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get me off this floor." You've got to move on. Feeling sorry for yourself doesn't undo what happened. Do it the best way you can. Good luck! 

JBMmom, MSN

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

Maybe if you didn't care I might think you should reconsider being a nurse. But you do care, and it was a mistake. We all make them. And after 16 hours we're more likely to make them. It was also a team effort, you didn't single handedly lift and drop the patient. I hope you got some rest, took a deep breath and headed back to work. You belong there and will continue to do good things for your patients. 

S.I.C.

Specializes in Medical-Surgical Nurse, Community Health Nurse. Has 38 years experience.

If you have hurt a patient, ask for God's forgiveness, forgive yourself, learn from your mistakes and move on with life.  You can't roll back your past, you can only do something for the present time and for the future. You cannot undo what you have done.

When I was ten I had a major surgery in the hospital.  Somewhere along the way I was dropped because I was black and blue down my whole right side when I woke up.  The important thing is that the surgery was successful and I recovered.  Today I am a nurse.  *** happens.  Life goes on.  

Edited by Rose_Queen
Terms of Service re: profanity

S.I.C.

Specializes in Medical-Surgical Nurse, Community Health Nurse. Has 38 years experience.

Dear Sally Hushion,

Thank you for sharing your painful experience with me and other professionals.

I am terribly sorry of what happened to you when you were ten.  I am so touched by such kind of experience in one way, and congratulate you that after all, you became a nurse.

Usually life is very unfair.  I praise God that the surgery was successful.  God had and has a plan for you.  Wherever you go, you will meet bad and very bad people "I mean just evil people". Discriminations have always been part of my life too.  Even now as you work as a nurse, some co-workers....nurses like you can hate you, discriminate you, gossip about you, and accuse you all evil things you never done. Well, that is part life, we have to accept things the way they are and move on with life.  As you survived in the past, you will continue to survive.  Some challenges are still ahead of you. Be strong, and even stronger.  Stronger wind makes the kite fly higher and higher.

On one side of this world you will meet evil people who will challenge you and make you suffer.  On the other side, you will meet good people too, who will love you, advise you and take care of you.  Those are your brothers and sisters that God has prepared for you to balance your life and make you happy. I wish I can be among those, and take care of you too.

Focus on the positive side of nursing profession.  Some nurse are so good like good angels.  You will meet them wherever you go.  At least, now you are a nurse and you can protect yourself, your family and friends and everybody from COVID-19 pandemic.  You are very important to yourself, to many people, to the world, and to God.

You are great Sally!  I do appreciate you. Forgive those who hurt you in the past, and move on proudly with life.  At least you have a lifetime and noble profession.

God bless you Sally.