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Old 04-30-2002, 08:23 AM   #1
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Where do you draw the line between faith and reality?

As some of you know, I'm an RN in a newborn ICU. Last night on my shift I took care of a baby that was incredibly sick... to the point where I was nauseous the whole time, thinking that I was contributing to what was probably close to torture for this baby.

For starters, he's 15weeks premature. He has horrible lungs, a bad heart, and his brain is so badly damaged that if by some miracle he survives he'll most likely be a vegetable. You cant even touch him without his heartrate dropping into the 30's ....it's extremely grim, but by some force of nature (and massive mechanical support) he's hanging in there. The main reason is... his mother is a very religious person, who has total faith that the baby will be fine. She's keeps saying that things are now in God's hands... when in actuality, if we were to remove his support, he wouldnt live longer than 5 minutes. Now I've always been an advocate for pro-life, and doing what's possible to save our patients... but I'm having major, major issues in this instance... when do you drawn the line? When or how can you explain to someone that something is impossible to fix no matter how strongly you believe in something? Believe me... I wish there was a way that we could. This baby plain and simple was just born way too soon -

This is more of a rant than anything else - but if you have any thoughts or opinions, please share...

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Old 04-30-2002, 08:39 AM   #2
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she values her religion over her baby? she's probably delusional and in a state of denial at the imminent loss of her baby. if humans left everything 'in god's hands', then people would still be dying from the common cold.
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Old 04-30-2002, 08:47 AM   #3
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Oh man, that's tough

Keep praying for the little guy, please, She Is Raging; I'll do the same. I too feel conflicted in this.

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Old 04-30-2002, 09:43 AM   #4
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I have prayed for a medical miracle and received one. I have also prayed for a medical miracle and not received one. I don't know why miracles happen in some cases, but not others. God "moves in mysterious ways". I do know that God gave Doctors the brains they needed to do their jobs, and it is by the grace of God that we have such fine and dedicated medical personnel in this country.
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Old 05-01-2002, 07:25 AM   #5
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She Is Raging, how's it going? I've been praying all day.

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Old 05-01-2002, 09:27 AM   #6
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I think you must be one incredible nurse, from reading this and other posts of yours on here. Nurses are so important, and deserve all the credit in the world.

I'm not a mother, but I'm sure a mother's love is so all consuming that I could never judge this woman. Having strong faith myself, I'd like to believe that miracles are possible. But I also understand your viewpoint as a nurse w/ all your experience.

All I can do is try to put myself in her shoes. What an unbelievably SAD situation for anyone to have to face.

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Old 05-01-2002, 01:06 PM   #7
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She Is Raging--i have no answers for you. i also am a nurse. i must give you credit for the exceedingly difficult specialty in which you have chosen to work. i was a cardiovascular intensive care and emergency room nurse for years. so i can somewhat share your frustration/pain. although, i never had the strength to care for young children. there is no understanding the decisions that some people make. i am assuming that this mother loves her child and is unable to make the kinder decision because she cannot see through her own pain. i can't believe that this type of suffering is what god has in mind when we are expected to put our faith in him. when a situation comes to these extremes, there are no words. i'm so sorry for what everyone involved has to endure. my thoughts are with you, the child and the family. peace, lynn
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Old 05-02-2002, 02:20 AM   #8
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Bless them
and may God light up their future.
Man can not judge when a life should be taken.
This is all in God's hands, all we can do is try our best to make the situaion better, be optimistic, and work hard towards the situation along with having faith that everything will be alright.
God bless and my prayers are with the child
amna
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Old 05-02-2002, 05:32 AM   #9
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People find it hard to draw the line themselves when its a subject matter too close to home, like the way a mother feels for her premature child. I don't blame her for not being able to draw the line.

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Old 05-02-2002, 07:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Amna:
Man can not judge when a life should be taken.
Morally speaking, no.

Practically speaking, I think the state sometimes has to decide.
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Old 05-02-2002, 04:45 PM   #11
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Thanks to everyone who has given their thoughs... and who had nice things to say.

Well the baby is still alive, now that we have him paralyzed with medication, he is no longer fighting the ventilator and I guess in a sense doing better although he's not doing anything on his own. Once we take him off the medication though, that's another whole story.

I took care of him again the other night, and his mother came to visit while I was there. She is a wonderful woman and my heart goes out to her... I have always been one to say that I will never tell a parent what to do or not to do in regards to their childs health, since i'm not a mother and thank god I've never had to make decisions like that - and I hope I never do. But again the thing is, for the first time in my life and career I'm saying that this child NEEDS to go on to a better place... for those of you saying that it's not for man to decide - I really wish that you could come yourself and see this child and understand exactly what is happening inside of him.

Another twist to this, his mother is very ill herself and I dont know how long exactly she's going to be with us. If by some miracle this child lives - who's going to be there to take care of him? No father is involved...

I'll keep you posted

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Rest in peace Layne.
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Old 05-02-2002, 06:10 PM   #12
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I hope you do not see this as too harsh of me, but the "reality" is that, in the world of genetics, there are lots of potential and common problems in fetuses. The average human has eight mutations, luckily with most of us having them all in our junk DNA; hence, we appear "normal." The plain reality is that there will always be a certain percentage of fetuses who will not make the cut. Nature did provide a way to eliminate "flawed" (for lack of a better word) creation, and that was through spontaneous abortion (e.g., miscarriage). Modern medicine has certainly allowed us to bend the rules a bit, but, at the same token, we cannot defy nature at every twist and turn.

Melon

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Old 05-03-2002, 07:28 AM   #13
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Be strong, She Is Raging.

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Old 05-07-2002, 03:21 AM   #14
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Premature Babies Need Tender Loving Care

IT WAS three o'clock Sunday morning. As to what triggered a premature labor, I don't know. But I suspect I may have been doing too much entertaining. Whatever the reason, my little son was on his way a month too early.

The labor was long and erratic. All day Sunday and all Sunday night, I labored without delivering. Many times the baby's head would be visible to the midwife on one contraction (crowning, it is called) only to disappear completely out of reach on the next one. At four o'clock Monday morning, 25 hours from the start of labor, the midwife determined from listening to the baby's heartbeat that the baby was in distress. She gave me oxygen and brought me to the hospital at once. Three hours later, Danny was born.

My husband, Bill, and I could see he was having a hard time breathing, since his lungs were not working well. They let us hold him for a few seconds, and during that time, Bill and I noticed that his breathing came easier as we held him and talked to him. When the hospital staff said he had to be put into the incubator, I was in no frame of mind to argue after such a long, confusing labor.

At 9:30 a.m. the pediatrician came to see me. He said that he had checked the baby and he seemed to be doing all right; the doctor would have him brought in so I could nurse him. But the baby didn't come. Ten o'clock, 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock, and still no Danny. Finally, just past noon, a nurse came from the nursery and made the startling announcement: "Your baby is retracting and flaring, and he had to be moved to an isolette!" On that note and with no further explanation, she left.

You can imagine what that did to my already shaky emotional state. Since I didn't know what "retracting and flaring" meant, I called the midwife and asked her if it was serious. "Yes," she said, "it's very serious. That's what they worry about with premature babies."

"What do you mean?" I asked: "Could he die?"

"It's possible," she said. She told me I should insist on seeing him.

The nurses told me I couldn't see him until the doctor had checked him out. At that point I started crying hysterically and caused quite a commotion. "He's my baby and he's going to die and I can't even hold him!" They responded quickly by bringing me down to him. Even though I couldn't hold him, there was a small opening on the side of the isolette, or incubator, where I could put my hand through and touch him.

Danny was a sad sight. His stomach muscles were still heaving from trying to breathe the wrong way and his nostrils were spread wide open because he just wasn't getting enough oxygen. (Hence the expression retracting of the sternum and flaring of the nostrils.) His hands and feet were dark from lack of oxygen.

I put my hand in and started to massage him gently from head to toe and to tell him how much I loved him. I told him all about his daddy and his brother, Timmy, and his whole family and how much we all loved him and wanted him to come home. He was very intent on listening to my voice, and the massage helped calm him. No one has to convince me that love works wonders. I saw it for myself that very day. Within a half hour, his breathing was completely normal, and his hands and feet were rosy pink.

The nurse on duty said: "I can't believe it! Look at him! He's breathing so well, and look at his hands and feet!" She took him out and gave him to me without waiting for the doctor's permission.

The crisis was over. Danny was safe. That was more than seven years ago. To this day, Danny loves to hear the story of his experience, and he likes for me to tell others about it.-As told by Mary Jane Triggs.

Thanks for hanging in there and taking care of the baby.
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Old 05-07-2002, 08:33 AM   #15
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Thanks....


As for the story above... it's almost laughable from my perspective! Not to belittle this mom's fears either, buta month early is nothing, many babies are born even earlier than that , and still do fine.
As for grunting and flaring... that's completely normal too. More often than not, babies do that for a few hours while the transition to life outside. NEVER NEVER NEVER would a nurse come running into room like that and say that to a mother, or tell them that this was a life threatening condition... because it's really not! As for the blue hands and feet - it's called acrocyanosis, and every infant has it. It takes a while for babie's circulation to kick in, so they look like that for the first few hours of life. Sorry for the rant there, but I hate stories like that that make nurses and doctors look like that when they are obviously grossly overexaggerated.

Unfortunately... as stated initially, no matter how much this woman loves her son, he's doing even worse now. I took care of him again last night... there is still no change and he's a month old now.He still weighs only 1.5 pounds and is requiring massive amts of drugs to keep him stable. He's now a complete puffball from drugs and doesnt even look like a baby anymore. It's just so sad to see.

------------------

What in God's name have you done?
Stick your arm for some real fun...
Rest in peace Layne.


[This message has been edited by She ls Raging (edited 05-07-2002).]
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