My first pedi death - page 2
I have been a nurse for a long time, and have seen my fair share of traumas, deaths, and unspeakable disasters. I witnessed my first pedi death a couple of weeks ago during a trauma. Usually,... Read More
Feb 22, '13Agree with kaci & esme. Find someone to speak with, don't keep it inside. Peds deaths are wrenching experiences which i never want to get used to.
Feb 23, '13I just wanted to say how sorry I am that you experienced this. My thoughts and prayers to you and the child's family.
Feb 23, '13Quote from emtb2rnAgree with kaci & esme. Find someone to speak with, don't keep it inside. Peds deaths are wrenching experiences which i never want to get used to.
After all this time, call me crazy, but I don't think I've ever gotten "used" to them. I am not even sure if that is possible--for a lot of people anyway.
I have sometimes found younger infants slightly easier to deal with, in the sense that in the hospital, you don't have all these pictures of what they have done or stuff about their dreams and where they want to go. You can get sucked in somewhat to a child's life when they are talking and relating things.
I mean loss of a child--even a pregnancy or a micro-premies--well, it all sucks. Seeing dead babies suck big time. But for some reason, those kids that really had more going on and were able to share about it, well, in a number of ways, that was harder for me. It's like their personality is able to come out more, and then you get more attached.
The tiny infants, as much as you love them too, you address their needs, or they have their particular stage of surgery, and at least in my experience in cardiac, they move on. So I found that I actually prefer caring for them, b/c a number of other kinds of sick kids--well, their situations can be more protracted or somehow problematic--depends, and and the stories of their lives would take more of an emotional tool on me.
Either way, how the parents dealt with the loss of their child, regardless if neonate, infant, or older, tha'ts what can really affect me and sit in my psyche. A number of parent-loss esponses I will never forget--not the sounds of their cries, the smells at the time, the sights, the touches from them. . .From a sensory overload position, it can be a lot.
Someone has to be there, and I am glad that I have been, but in our field we just have to be honest. A number of our experiences will change us forever. It comes with what we do.
Feb 23, '13It is experiences like yours, canesdukegirl,that keep me from working in the emergency room anymore. In the ER you have the unenviable position of bearing witness to the unthinkable - the death of a little one from trauma. I've worked in field EMS and in various areas of my level I pediatric trauma center for 18 years and I have bore witness to many children passing. It doesn't get "easier". Each death is a powerful reminder of how fragile life truly is.
You deal with it by doing whatever it is you do to resolve stress. Talk to others, whether they be coworkers, your spouse, or someone in a professional capacity (at the hospital, private health insurance, wherever you can). When you work in this business, you have the knowledge in the back of your mind that this can happen, you just pray it doesn't happen on your shift. You go home after a shift and you embrace your children like you never have before, and you might even say a prayer for the child who was lost.
The tears come easy, even to those of us who have seen it countless times. Our job is to do what we can to figure out the problems, do our best to fix them, and hope that they can continue to recover and go home. Many times that happens. Sometimes, unfortunately, it does not.
Don't let this loss scare you away from something you do well. Know that what happened is an unfortunate, unwanted event. Know that you did all you could. In the end, giving your best is all anyone can ask of you. Your heart will heal, you will go on to care for more patients. Do yourself a favor and never forget the lessons learned during that event, they will serve you well as your nursing career progresses.
I wish you all the best.
Feb 23, '13I started my nursing career 6yrs ago in a peds ICU and have seen enough pedi deaths to last a lifetime...i think every one is different.
One coping mechanism I find myself using is I try to find some kind of positivity in the situation...some lightness in the dark so to speak. Like maybe I made a difference and helped the family through that difficult time, or eased some suffering for the child.
Sometimes I can't think of anything and its just horrible.
The best thing is to talk about it with the others that went through it and just let it out.
One thing to remember is that it is traumatizing and it is a big deal, do what you need to do to take care of yourself too.
Feb 26, '13What I always tell my newer coworkers, "all the bad stuff happened before you got involved. You did all you could to make it better" Sometimes better is not "saving them". Sometimes better is easing pain, supporting the family or facilitating donation. The most important thing is allow yourself a moment to grieve, it is sad. But then you have to move on. If you continue to carry the negative outcomes with you you will not be available for the next patient that needs you. Find the coping method that works best for you. Your job is not to grieve for that child, there are plenty of people doing that, your job is to protect yourself and be the best you can for that next patient. Good luck!
Feb 26, '13Quote from canesdukegirlTo me, with a kid like that, I would think that if he had survived, he would have never gotten his quality of life back. I said this recently on another thread about death in children but I always find the previously normally and now neurologically devastated kids to be more devastating than the ones that don't survive.Thanks Kel. This kid looked nothing like his pic when he came in. It was disturbing, to say the least.
I wish that I could erase the image from my subconscious, but denial never helped anyone.
It was difficult. It still is.
I am thinking of 3 kids that I worked with in the past- all previously healthy/normal kids, all completely devastated from their illnesses. Two died and rather quickly (within 3-9 months of becoming ill), the other is now wheelchair bound/quadriplegic, trach'd, G-tubed and non-verbal. After months and months in rehab, she failed to make any progress. On the door of her room, her family kept a picture of her smiling, on her way to her first day of kindergarten. Knowing that she will live and likely for a long time but will never be that child again hurts my heart so much more.
Feb 27, '13It might be helpful to fall back on what you know...what has helped with tragedy in the past?
Feb 28, '13I feel like a terrible person now. In two months, I have seen three pedi codes, and all three died. I don't feel traumatized. It's sad, and I feel sorry for the families, but...I don't have nightmares, I don't feel any worse than I do with any other code. We tried our best, they didn't make it, end of story for me. I think about their families and siblings often, and how they will cope, but I guess I feel that life is not a guarantee at any age, and that any time we get is precious.
Feb 28, '13Quote from Racer15This thread made me feel the same way. Children die regularly in my line of work and I honestly forget that it's something that most people find absolutely horrifying. I had a patient who died a few weeks ago and when I was speaking with her Case Manager from the oncology clinic about it, he said "I'm just glad that she was in the hospital where they could control her pain" and I said "I'm glad they stopped the experimental treatment and signed the DNR in time." I thought if anyone outside of the pediatric oncology world overheard this conversation, they'd think we were completely heartless... here we were, 2 nurses who had known and cared about this child, sharing what we were glad for in her death.I feel like a terrible person now. In two months, I have seen three pedi codes, and all three died. I don't feel traumatized. It's sad, and I feel sorry for the families, but...I don't have nightmares, I don't feel any worse than I do with any other code. We tried our best, they didn't make it, end of story for me. I think about their families and siblings often, and how they will cope, but I guess I feel that life is not a guarantee at any age, and that any time we get is precious.