Thursday, November 8, 2007

So, I wrote the post below before rounds (where we go around and talk about the overnight course and current plan for every patient in the unit.) During rounds a patient coded - her heart rate was very slow and she eventually became asystolic (no heart beat.) Chest compressions were started when she did not respond to external pacing or medications. She continued to have no pulse, and she was pronounced dead. This was my first code and my first time seeing someone die. It was nothing like I thought it would be - there was all this excitement during the code. "I'm giving 1mg atropine!" "I'm pacing her at 160!" "1 mg epi now!" Then the chest compressions start. It goes on like this for minutes or hours, and if the patient does not improve, then everything stops, and it is quiet. And the patient looks exactly the same dead as they did a few moments ago when they were alive. The anti-climax is heartbreaking. It would seem that the end of life should be heralded by some sort of something. But there is nothing, and we must continue on with our rounds because the patient in the next room is doing poorly.

That was my morning. I spent the bulk of the day watching the autopsy of my patient that had died the previous night. It is very unsettling to see an autopsy performed on someone that you had seen alive less than 12 hours earlier. As with everything, death stops life for some, but for the rest of us, it continues on. Strange. I wonder if you ever get used to it.


asiyah said...

Oh Shannon, I don't know what to say except I'm sorry. It sounds like a really hard thing to experience.



grandma lorrel said...

I'm sorry that you had to go through this experience Shannon. I can't even imagine what it would be like. Thank you for sharing your feelings though, you are such a deep thinker and this experience is one that must be very hard to get off your mind. I love you tremendously.

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