My Heart Breaking CPR

Our little baby cousin was an answered prayer despite the fact that she was diagnosed in her newborn screening that she had Hyperthyroidism . She was born premature and at 4 months she had still a yellow skin  color (jaundice).  I knew that she had a health problem, i wanted to help by taking care of her. But as a newly graduate and just passed the board exam, i felt like somewhat hesitant and scared of all the possibilities because my family would expect a lot from me.

I remembered how i carried her and the way she slept lying on my chest, I heard every rhythm of her breathing as if  we were breathing together. She was truly an angel.  That night she was very irritant and restless, she cried most of the time and i asked her parents to let her be seen by a doctor.  So they went. We were relieved after the doctor sent them home after an hour, saying that the baby just had indigestion and the baby haven’t burped after being fed. I volunteered to watch after the baby so my auntie can rest after a tiresome night.

As I watched and observed my cousin,  i noticed she was trying to hug me, so i carried and let her sleep on my arm. I sang her a lullaby and looked peacefully sleeping. That moment, as i was looking at her, she suddenly stopped breathing(apnea) and her color changed bluish (cyanotic). I screamed as loud as I can to get attention and help, and performed CPR on my 4 month old cousin.  I gained back her breathing and consciousness, but still she was gasping for air so i needed to help her  breathing while inside the car rushing to the nearest hospital.

In the emergency room of a small clinic, the baby was diagnosed to have primarily an aspiration pneumonia and they needed to suction and put her on an oxygen mask. The next thing i knew was we were advised to transport the patient to her pediatrician next to our town, a 30 minute drive. I asked the personnel to assist us in transferring our patient but couldn’t, as they lacked the staff.  They also couldn’t even lend us an oxygen tank because it was near empty.  In other words we had to transport the patient using our own means and resources.

After stabilizing and seeing some improvement on the baby’s condition, we decided to bring my cousin to her pediatrician near our town where they had better facilities. On our way, my cousin again stopped breathing and changed color the second time.  I performed CPR for for about 10 mins until we  reached the nearest hospital. About 5am in the morning I found myself running to the Emergency Room cuddling my little cousin and begging for them to save her. They did the intubation and continuous CPR, intravenous lines, epinephrine, adrenaline, and a lot more as I witnessed.  BP was zero, and only the heart rate was our last hope, as she was in continuous ambu bagging.

We transferred her again to a big hospital where she can be monitored and hooked into a mechanical ventilator in ICU(Intensive Care Unit).  I never stopped praying to give her a chance to live.  But in the end, we needed to stop, and let her go after two more episodes of reviving her while in the ICU.  We had  to accept the fact that she was only breathing thru the machine and her vital signs were zero.  Clinically,  she already has brain damage due to lack of oxygen. The cardiac Monitor was “Flatlined” (asystole) and she was pronounced dead by her doctor.  That was the first time tears fell,  after the whole day trying to save her life  inside the ICU… I felt so weak.   She died on my Birthday…that was 5 years ago.

It is so hard to have your family as your patient since you want to give the best of care for them.  Strictly  monitoring that they take their medicines religiously.  At times,  you tend argue with old folks when they tend to insist the traditional way of treatment, funny isn’t it?  But the saddest part of being in the medical profession? It is when you (yourself) get sick and you can’t take care of your own self.  Instead they would tell you “you are a Nurse, you know what medicines are suited for you and you know how to take care of yourself” . That’s the irony of our life. We need care too.  How do we perform CPR on ourselves when we need it?

Now that I am a  full fledged Nurse and  had worked for almost 4 years,  the experience involving my baby cousin gave me the ability to focus on life-saving, having the full experience of dealing with the  Emergency Call so called “Code”.

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  • donna

    in our profession..there no such thing as simple and complex symptoms or signs..every single thing determines the line between life and death. good job for being strong and taking care of your cousin the best way you can. (:

  • Anonymous

    I am working in a Pediatric Emergency Unit for almost a year now. We usually are assigned to different areas like vital sign room, examination room, observations rooms with respiratory unit, neonatal unit, GE unit and miscellaneous unit. CODE TEAM are the one who are assigned in V/S and Exam Room. From my 8 months of stay in the Department, i have only attended to 5 codes. One is the most heartbreaking because that was the time when I was a member of the code team reviving a child, and at the same time my father is being revived back home. We succeeded in reviving the child’s life and i am happy about that. but the sad part is…my dad passed away.