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Monday, November 1, 2010

Patient Advocacy Even In Death

 We responded to a board and care home for a 90 year old man feeling lethargic. My first thought on hearing the nature of the call was, "Really? A 90 year old not feeling well, what are the odds?"

As we walked into the house my captain, who was really on the ball, asked the caregiver if the patient had a DNR. I love it when my captains are thinking ahead like that. The caregiver said yes and directed us to the back bedroom. As soon as we saw our patient my captain turned around and went to find the DNR. We were going to need it.

My patient was laying in a hospital bed sitting up slightly. He was guppy breathing. As my captain headed out of the room I quickly checked for a radial pulse. Not finding one I searched for a carotid pulse. He had a weak one but it was there.

As my engineer walked in the room I turned to him to explain what I had going on with the patient. I turned back and watched the old man take his last breath. Not wanting to do anything contrary to the mans wishes I loudly asked my captain if he had found the DNR. In the absence of a valid DNR we have no choice but to work up the full arrest. 

Because the staff were unorganized we had to start compressions. Thankfully, after about 30 seconds my captain found the DNR. Once it was determined that it was valid resuscitation efforts stopped. We then replaced the covers on the body and left him so that he appeared to be sleeping.

I'm glad we found that DNR.

1 comment:

Jackie said...

Nothing makes me crazier than having a DNR and the staff not being able to find it!

Although why did they even bother to call the paramedics if he had a DNR... *shakes her head*


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