My patient at work has made a huge impact on me. On my view on life, and clearly, on my emotions. This, in combination with being consistenly tired, and stressed, and a bit overworked/overschooled, is the reason for this change.
div>My patient was a beautiful, healthy 3 year old little girl who had been vomiting a few times over the past week. But, after she threw up, she looked fine and went back to playing, like so many toddlers do.
What do you even do with this information?? Myself, the nurse helping me, the nurse charting, and 2 PICU docs all just stared at her in disbelief. Here was this beautiful little girl who had a raging tumor in her brain that nobody knew about until it was too late.
Until there was nothing that we could do.
I must say, listening to the doctor give the family this information when they walked in (after telling them, "We need you to sit down. We have some very bad news") was probably one of the hardest conversations I have ever been a part of.
I have been in countless meetings where we've delivered this same information. But never in such an unexpected, quick, life changing way. We told the family about the tumor, about her brain herniating, and about her brain death. We then told them that when the brain is dead, the body is as well.
This is a concept that is so difficult for families to handle. They see that the heart may still be beating on its own. But when the brain is dead, the body follows shortly. When the brain is dead, what is keeping the rest of the body alive is machines. We then told them we would have to do 2 brain death tests 12 hours apart (state regulations) and would have a family care conference the next day to discuss the results, and talk about options.