What a tough morning. I logged in remotely to our hospital records in order to complete my reports and keep track of patients I’ve taken care of in the past. Last weekend, I was paged to come in because this young mother in her early 20s was becoming exceedingly short of breath due to covid-19 pneumonia and it appeared she would need higher level of support including mechanical ventilation (breathing tube) and ECMO. I came in and reviewed her chart, talked to her primary care team etc. Before you proceed with any procedure, one must first obtain consent. Since she’s over 18 and was still mentating well, she gave us the go-ahead. I’ve seen what happens with these cases, her chest X-ray was complete white out and her other blood work was also concerning. In such cases, the chances of recovery are very slim, so I gently prodded her to call her mom and just talk. Looking back, that was perhaps the BEST decision I have ever made. This young lady, Bree, lost her fight this morning at 4am, which means that phone call was the last time her mom heard her voice.
I gave them plenty of time to chat and I even overheard her mom tearfully praying for her. Bree told me that was very scared but she still had no idea that she was going to die. I knew it, see, that’s the problem with knowing too much about how the body works. Should I have told her? Her primary team obviously hadn’t prepared her for what was a certain death. Covid is such a new territory for us, it’s not like advanced cancer where most people usually have time to reconcile their looming mortality and say their good-byes. Should medical professionals be more forthcoming to their covid patients, some of whom are just as sick as Stage IV metastatic cancer patients? I don’t know how else I could’ve handled it. She left a 3 year old child!! Tears
May he soul RIP.You did your best considering the circumstances.You just said it yourself, Covid is very new and Medics and Scientists are only beginning to understand it.It was only recently discovered that it also infects brain cells of patients with comorbidities with serious consequences.Some covid patients have actually made recoveries after slipping into a coma for even a week.The patients who are outliers of the normal covid curve seem to behave uniquely and I think this could not have prepared you to handle the patient any differently.You simply did your best.For that,congratulations are in order.Be strong.
Yes.Around April I had an unexplained fever ingine mbaya sana for nine days straight.Was managing it with an NSAID called doloact MR.Tests at Acacia Medical and Mater Hospital did not reveal anything.They just told me my body seems to be fighting a viral infection and that it will have to run its course.In both cases I had a low lymphocyte count which is a characteristic of being covid positive.I never went for the covid test coz 10k ni too much bana and its not like I will be given a cure after am confirmed positive.
If it were me, I would also have preferred not to know of my impending certain death. You did your best and that is what matters. I think that call also mentally prepared her mother of her child’s departure.