How to deal with death of toddler death on picu.. - page 3

I am just wondering how the nurses that work on picu deal with a death or impending death of a toddler. 2 wks ago my 2 1/2 yr old son had gotten an ear infection and then 2 days later he had gotten... Read More

  1. by   underpaidrn
    I cannot begin to imagine your pain. I am so very sorry for your loss and I will keep you and your family in my prayers. This is such a tragic event and I am at a loss for words. You didn't even have time for anything to sink in before he was gone. Bless you for sharing this with us. There are so many good people on this site that will be praying for you. Please let us know how you are getting along.:icon_hug:
  2. by   kessadawn
    [FONT="Century Gothic"]I am so sorry for your family's loss! You are in my prayers!

    When I took a float position at our local children's hospital, it was with the understanding that I never floated to NICU or PICU. I was very open with the nurse recruiter about the loss of my own child from a genetic disorder, and she was very understanding. Fast forward in time, new nurse manager, and I am now required to train in the PICU. I was a mess thinking about it, put it off as long as I could, and finally I did my orientation time...and I fell in love with PICU! I transferred into it a few months later, been there over 2 years now. It was an adjustment at first, when a child coded, or was taken off the vent to allow a natural death. But I found that the thing I feared the most has become my biggest strength, and I have been able to care for the dying pt and family with the experience of both a nurse and a parent who has grieved. The loss of my child has come full circle and made me a better nurse. Very few families can irritate me, I have seen and done it all myself. So just take your time in school, you'll know where your calling is when you find it!

    Good luck, and God Bless you and your family during this difficult time!
  3. by   AlabamaBelle
    Words are so inadequate, but I am hurting for you in your loss.

    We have excellent resources in our chaplains. Our Palliative Care RN is also available to us when we experience a loss in our unit.

    When I don't cry at the death of a child, I'll find something else to do. I've just learned to care for myself and my mental health.

    I find it really doesn't matter the age of the child. I hurt as much with the 15 year old as the infant/toddler who died. It helps to know that the child is in a much better place, whole and healthy, no more pain/painful treatments.

    What I've learned in the last 2 1/2 yrs as a nurse is to not take anything for granted. Even the smallest, simplest of things.

    Hugs & prayers
  4. by   SuesquatchRN
    I am so very sorry.
  5. by   firstaiddave908
    You are in my prayers. I am sorry to hear about your son.
  6. by   RainDreamer
    I'm so sorry to hear about this, you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Just wanted to say I think it's an incredibly unselish and loving thing you did by not allowing him to suffer, I can't even imagine how hard that is, but you're strong for doing it and it shows you loved him very much. God bless you.
  7. by   justme1972
    Quote from nd deb
    It was an awful experience. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. He died of clots and hemorraging, swelling in the brain. The neurologist told us that there was nothing they could do to help that. They also found that he wasn't getting any blood circulation above his eyes so he was pretty much brain dead. We had him pulled off the vent and I held him in my arms. The 2 drs he had told us that he will get worse before he got better. He never pulled out of it, just kept going downhill. He was spared the pain and agony of treatment. From what I have read on this cancer it is very hard to treat and the prognosis isn't that great. Just hard to believe that he happen to be the lucky rare one to get it. It is one of those things that you would have never thought would happen to you.
    That was a very, very difficult and courageous choice that you made. I cannot imagine the strength that it took.
  8. by   ELLE_BORN
    i'm sorry sorry for your loss then has been my fear of going into nursing is the death of a child, one of my own little ones or the loss of a patient. my heart goes out to you and your angel baby:wshgrt:. i think you have to decide for yourself if you want to go into the picu or not i admire everyone who does this work they are angels themselves i know i wouldn't have tthe strenght personaly i'm in tears just reading this post. good luck an god bless!!
  9. by   gal220RN
    Let me tell you the story of Daisy. Daisy was admitted 2 days before Christmas, with a history of fever, lethargy and some impressive bruising and petechiae. On CBC, she had WBC >100K with majority blasts- ALL. She was admitted to our unit, alert but puny. She was spunky enough to draw pictures for the staff and to dress in her 'fancy' PJ's. Daisy's appearance did not reflect the rapid and deadly changes taking place in her fragile body. At noon, her tumor lysis labs were normal. We were superhydrating her, giving Rasburicase, and preparing for pheresis ASAP. Within four hours, a dramatic change took place. Daisy became agitated and unconsolable, crying with belly and leg pain. Labs revealed the truth- her uric acid was off the chart, her renal function was deteriorating rapidly and the potassium and phosphorous were critical. We emergently intubated her and started CVVH within 1 hour- a feat, I can tell you. We were all hopeful we could stop the cascase of tumor lysis, but the arrythmias we prayed not to see began to skip across our monitor. Sinus tach, PVC's, V tach- We did everything to bring her K down, but we could not. As VFib and its subsequent shocks and meds were delivered, I knew. She was not going to survive.
    We had a child who was drawing 12 hours ago and now- she was dead. I cried more with this family than I have ever cried with anyone else. Unabated tears and profuse professions of sorrow went on for hours. I knew we did all the right things clincally, and our patient died.

    This happend over two years ago, and I can now recall the details without feeling the intense pain of the past. Daisy has become part of my history. Her story inspires me to continue to do the right thing, every single time.

    I encourage you to continue to talk about your feelings with friends. Journal about your feelings. Take special care of yourself when these bad things happen. Allow yourself to spend a day in bed watching movies and eating popcorn. Don't be surprised if you find yourself very tired or moody without knowing why, even several days after a sad event happens. Reflect on your month and note stressful events. The results don't often show themselves immediately. If all else fails, find a great professional counselor to dump on.

    Press on, dear friend. You can survive, if you determine to care for yourself well while caring for others. And for pete's sake- watch an episode of SNL and laugh your *** off- my therapy of preference every time.
  10. by   mabell52
    I am sorry for your loss.
    I will never forget a comment that was made to me 2 days after I was accepted into a nursing program. You see I watch my son get hit by a car. I was frozen and didn't know what to do. When he finally cried, I became unfroze and later told my MD about my experience. He told me that I would be a fine nurse. What happened to me was I was a MOM first. Though I did not experience a loss at that time, I was able to remember those words when I experience something "close to home".
    As PICU nurses, we learn to grieve in our own way. Continue on in your schooling unless it becomes overwhelmingly difficult for you. Many nurses have had an experience as you have and have used that experience to grow and become great nurses. Some have not. You just need to be able to identify when it is not.
    See a grief counselor, a minister, or join a support group. Suggestions I am sure you have already heard.
  11. by   Jo Dirt
    This makes me so sad for you and your little boy. I am a mother as well and I think you are incredibly strong and brave in being able to even talk about it.

    I do not believe I have the mental and emotional strength to work with dying children. Old people dying, I can deal with that. I can come home from my shift after an old person has died and function. I do not believe this would be the case if it was a child.
  12. by   gal220RN
    Motor Mama:

    You know, I think it really depends on the situation. Trauma is much harder to deal with because of the suddeness and violence involved. Often there is not an opportunity for closure for families. Abuse is also terrible. There is nothing worse than seeing a child die alone, because their parent is in jail. I have seen my friends pick up a dying child and place them in their lap at the time life support is withdrawn or a code is called, just so they will not die in a strange bed, but in the arms of a loving person.

    Prolonged illness and suffering is different. Sometimes, death is such a blessing. There is time to say good bye.

    We each do what we have to in course of a day.