Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Medical Rounds

Medical Rounds are bedside visits by a team of doctors to update progress and evaluate treatment. Being the Grey's Anatomy fan that I am, I have seen "rounds" where the doctors come in and talk about the medical diagnosis and what treatment the patient will receive. I had never witnessed "rounds" until the morning of September 3rd.

I first want to say that I have nothing but respect for Doctors and Nurses. They have chosen a career path that has really high moments but really low moments too. I think it takes a special person to be a doctor or a nurse - to be caring and compassionate but at the same time not cross lines of getting too emotionally involved.

On September 3rd, we knew we were in for a very long day. A day filled with medical tests and treatments and doctors coming in and out. One of Trevor's doctors had told us that the team of doctors would be doing rounds that morning and we were welcome to go into the hallway and listen. When the doctors had made it to Trevor's room we decided to stand in the doorway to listen. There were so many doctors of all ages too. The one presenting Trevor's case had the chart in his hand and began to speak. Here is what I remember - not verbatim

Doctor - Patient's name is Trevor Ulrich, 9 months old, was flown in last night from Memorial Hospital in Easton. 911 was called saying that the patient had aspirated on his vomit and hadn't been breathing. When EMT's arrived the patient was in full cardiac arrest. While in the ambulance the EMTs were able to get his heart beating again. Patient had been approximately 30 minutes before they were able to get his heart beating again..... as he continued my mind was going crazy.

My thinking (with my jaw unhinged) 30 minutes WHAT? That can't be - 30 minutes with out oxygen. Oh my god!

Doctor - Patient has been on the ventilator and unresponsive since he arrived. There has been no brain activity either.
Senior Doctor - (after the other doctor was finished) You do realize what we are saying? There is nothing more we can do for your son. And then they were gone.

"Nothing more we can do" - that term still gives me chills. I don't know how that doctor said those words to us and moved on. I know it is his job and I know he was giving us the honest truth but I still don't know how. I mean I lay awake and worry about telling a parent that their child isn't meeting grade level expectations. I don't know how you tell a parent that there is no hope, no treatment, no cure NOTHING and then walk away.

Again I am not saying anything bad about this doctor - it his job and he sees things like this everyday. I just know that I couldn't do it and I will never forget that moment in my life.

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