Nurses’ Hospital Horror Stories
Being a nurse is sometimes like Halloween every day! We see it all…weird, spooky, unexplainable, and yucky. Here are just a few stories from your AmeriTech College nursing faculty. Names and other details have been changed to escape the HIPAA monster, but the stories are absolutely true.
Life After Death!
Lorri has been a nurse for many years. Early in her career, she worked for a small community hospital in the labor and delivery unit. One night, a woman delivered a tiny baby four months too early. It could not survive. The doctor filled out the birth certificate and the death certificate at the same time. After allowing the mom to say a tearful farewell, Lorri took the baby away. Protocol at the time was for the nurse to place the body in a jar of formaldehyde in case studies were needed to determine what went wrong. But the unit was busy, so the nurse wrapped up the baby in blankets for now, intending to return later and complete her duties. A couple of hours went by, and as Lorri rushed down the hall, she heard a faint but unmistakable “waa, waa” from the forgotten pile of blankets. Shocked, she unwrapped the baby, who was moving and crying, and rushed her to the nursery. Lorri called the physician to inform him of the discovery and arrange to have the tiny child transferred to a larger hospital. The doctor was not cooperative. “I declared the child dead, so it is dead. That’s it.” Since the nurses could clearly see a not dead baby in front of them, they arranged the transfer. Every year on her birthday, a still not dead young lady brings flowers for the nurses. She may be the healthiest looking person you will ever meet who is in possession of her own death certificate.
A Toe Gone Too Soon…
It was one of the strangest injuries the ER nurse had ever seen. The two year old child had been racing through the house. As she came around the coffee table, her tiny pinky toe got caught on the table leg. The leg wasn’t sharp, but somehow the toe was snagged in such a way that the forward motion of the child snapped it clean off of the foot. There was almost no bleeding. The joint separated cleanly. The cries of the toddler were more bewilderment than pain. Although they brought the missing digit, it was too small to reattach. I guess “this little piggy” never did come all the way home.
A Patient’s Last Message to a Nursing Student.
Nursing students count their time by “firsts”. First time to give a shot, first blood draw, first IV placement. This “first” looked to be exciting…the ambulance was bringing a patient who had collapsed at home. Full CPR was in progress. The student volunteered to do chest compressions…the first time she had ever done them. Nobody would fight her for that job…chest compressions, done correctly, are exhausting. The patient was brought in and the student climbed up on a step stool to do the job. She noticed that the patient was old, pale, worn out. As she pumped the chest up and down, medications were given, oxygen was pushed into the lungs. Suddenly, the student felt something. She stopped compressions and looked at the patient. The woman’s eyes were open. Her gnarled hands reached up to the student’s wrists. She was pushing them away! It seemed that she had come back to consciousness just long enough to tell them that she was ready to die. The student saw the life drain from her eyes, and once more, the patient was gone. This time, she wasn’t coming back.
Death, life, blood, guts, the wild and the creepy…most of the world is satisfied to explore this on one day of the year. But nurses know that having a window into the mysterious workings of the human body gives one appreciation for life no matter what the season.
Happy Halloween, ATCers!