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Diary of a Trauma Nurse
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About Me

My name is Cory. I am a mom, a wife, a NaNa, and a critical care nurse that lives in Nashville, TN. I have found my calling in ER/Trauma/ICU. Each day I find myself experiencing life changing events and hope that by reading my posts, you will experience and feel some of what I do. If you read nothing else, please take time to read "The Hardest Question Ever Asked". It's my very first posting. And if for some reason you think you see your story don't. It's not about you or anyone you know. =)


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Places to Go

Nursing Wiki
Am Assoc Critical Care Nurses

Nursing Blogs

A Day In The Life Of An Ambulance Driver
Adventures In Nursing
Adventures Of GuitarGirl RN
All Kids and No Play
Backboards and Bandaids
Disappearing John RN
Emergency-Room Nurse
Head Nurse
Not A Wanna B A Gonna B
Nurse Ratcheds Place
Weird Nursing Tales

Doctor Blogs

A Happy Hospitalist
Adventures In Medicine
Doctor Anonymous
Fat Doctor
Kevin MD
OB/GYN Kenobi


Kathys Lifes Journey

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Hardest Question Ever Asked

So I walk into work one evening and hear my name being discussed between the day and night charge nurses. "She's the only one that has done it." I walked up to inquire why I was being discussed and I was given the very terrifying news. We had gotten two pediatric patients, because the PICU (Pediatric ICU) was completely full. One was 11 and one was 6. They had been in an accident with their mother who was 8 months pregnant and their 9 year old sister who was still in the E.R.

The reason I was chosen...... noone else working that night had pediatric experience. "I don't have critical care PEDIATRIC experience, only normal pediatrics" I thought. Then I said a little prayer and walked to the bedside to get report. The two little girls had just gotten there and were still being admitted. The 11 year old had 2 broken arms and 2 broken legs, internal bleeding and a severe brain injury. The 6 year old little girl in the next bed was brain dead as far as we (trauma team members) could tell. She was bleeding internally and with her closed head injury as bad as it was, there was no time to even worry about broken extremities or anything else. Between the two girls I had 17 drips, pain medication, amnestics, (thank GOD), pressors to keep the blood pressure up, fluids because they were losing them so quickly, blood products, etc. Whew! What a night this was going to be! Again, I said a prayer to be "guided" throughout the night.

A few minutes later, I get a call that the father is coming to the bedside, he has yet to see his girls. He'd been in the E.R. with his other daughter. We introduce ourselves and the father stands at one bedside letting the tears roll off his cheeks. Knowing he had just been told that his wife of 14 years and his unborn son who was expected within weeks had died in the accident, I wasn't sure what to say. I waited for his questions. "Please tell me my girls will make it." I didn't know what to say. I told him that we were doing everything we could do. He was at the bedside of his 11 year old daughter. I proceeded to tell him about her injuries, how severe they were, the treatment we were providing, and that she would most likely survive her injuries. He turned around and went to the bedside of his 6 year old daughter. "The doctors told me there was no way she would survive her injury because she was thrown through the windshied and had a non-survivable head injury. They told me that I needed to take her off of life support" I told the father that I was told the same thing. Then comes the hardest question of my lifetime.
"What would you do if it were your child" the father asked me? I thought for a moment and replied........ "do you want me to answer you as a mother, or as a nurse?"

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 2:37 AM

Wow. What amazing courage. No wonder Trauma sounds so much like Drama. (Not the acting kind, the heart breaking kind)
your friend, Kathy from Myspace.
hard question. i wouldnt know what to say. so what did you say? i love you.

<3 ashley nicole
I answered him as a nurse AND a mother. And the answers were different. The little girl is in heaven with her mother and baby brother now.
I think that my answer would have been the same as a nurse and a mother. I hope that he had the courage to donate any organs that could have been used. I believe that there is some hope out of some tragedies. Thanks for commenting on The Nurse Practitioner's Place!
Oh, gosh. Not a good post to read when you have 5 children and on your period!!! But so good!! You're right, it was the best post to read if I don't get time to read any others! Thanks for sharing...
I hope I never have to cross that bridge. thanks for a great blog

I hope you don't either. I pray no parent ever has to, but sadly it happens every day.
That truly is the hardest question...but I think he made the right choice.
I hate that question. The nurse and mom conflict.
Wow. So sad... but thanks for sharing!! It's amazing to be able to get a glimpse inside a trauma nurse's everyday life.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read (and comment) on my blog.
Trauma Nursing is certainly a one of a kind job. :)

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