Just Playin'
Random Thoughts...
Sunday, September 17, 2006

Heartbreaking

While attempting to get some work done before going to bed, I heard the wind kick up outside so I immediately pulled up a local TV station's website to check out the regional radar - I'd been looking forward to the approaching line of storms for a couple of hours.

Before I made it to the weather page, I was greeted with this gut-wrenching headline story. Two newborn infants died at Methodist Hospital as the result of medication administration errors.

As a person, this story touches me. As a mother, it horrifies me. And as a nurse, the enormity of the tragedy speaks to me in a way I cannot adequately describe. (I assume, without knowing, that the errors were nursing errors, though they may have been physician or pharmacy errors.)

Medical professionals are charged with compentently caring for their patients. A busy hospital environment with critically ill patients, such as a Newborn Intensive Care Unit, is rife with opportunities for mistakes. And yet nurses and doctors must remain vigilant and avoid making mistakes that may lead to disastrous consequences for their patients.

After approximately three years as a nurse on a busy labor and delivery unit, while we battled growing problems with short staffing and an ever-increasing patient census, I began to feel that my license was in danger. More importantly, my patients' lives were in danger. Those aren't the primary reasons I left my job; I made a career change for more selfish reasons. And my primary discontent with being a nurse was the feeling, prevalent on an almost daily basis, that staffing issues were preventing me from providing my patients the quality nursing care they deserved.

But the danger was always in the back of my mind. As an attorney, I know now that what I suspected then was true: the defense of "but this is how everyone does it; this is the only way to get the job done" would do us no good if a patient was harmed. I do NOT know a nurse who would intentionally harm a patient. For our faults, all the nurses I know want nothing more than for their patients to heal and to have positive experiences with the healthcare system.

I cannot imagine the anguish of the families of the newborn infants who died at the hospital. But my thoughts tonight are particularly with the medical professionals who were involved in caring for those infants.


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Blawgs I Read

(Fresh Pepper)
In the Agora
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Do Not Overmix
From Engineer to Lawyer
Failure to Comprehend
Favorable Dicta
A Girl Walks Into a Bar(exam)
the imbroglio
Indiana Barrister
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Legal Underground
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Mother in Law
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Screaming Bean
SC Trial Law Blog
Taking Down Words
teahouseblossom


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About a Nurse
advanced maternal age
Approaching...
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code blog: tales of a nurse
Deb, hatched
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Going Bananas
The Great Spirit
Hopedaddy
Jelly Beans...
Martinis, Persistence...
Overheard in New York
The Perils of Being in 3D
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preaching to the perverted
Rebirth
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...the slack daily
Stay
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Unnamed Source
Waiting for the Punchline

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