Michael Morse over at Rescuing Providence tells us about a job he recently had with an 11 year old child in cardiac arrest. Amazingly he and his colleagues managed to get him back and delivered him alive to their ER.
His post brought two thoughts into my head. One I will post about now and the other I will write about at a later date.
Reading through the comments to his post, it is all very positive and everyone (me included) is saying what a great job they did. Then, at the very end of the comments he informs us all that unfortunately the boy died the next day.
This almost changes the feeling from ‘what a great job’ to a ‘horrible job’. Which brings me to my point:
What makes a successful resus?
There are many different definitions of this, the most common is the ROSC (return of spontaneous circulation). This means that the patient has recovered from cardiac arrest and now the heart is beating by itself again and producing sufficient pressure to palpate a pulse. The patient may still be unconscious and not breathing but this is still classed as a ROSC.
Personally, my own definition of a successful resus is only when I hear that the patient made a full recovery and was discharged back home to their family to continue their lives. These are VERY rare but wonderful moments when you can really say that you have saved a life.
The vast majority of the time, the best I can hope for is a ROSC and a short stay for the patient in an intensive care unit before they die or have their ventilator turned off.
They will never regain consciousness.
Is this really a “successful resus”?
I would argue that it most definitely is. Agreed, we have only delayed the inevitable death of the patient, but what have we done for the family?
Instead of family witnessing their loved one drop to the floor suddenly, without warning and that being their lasting memory of their death, or getting a phone call from the hospital, or a visit from the police, they now get the chance to see their loved one for a final time.
They get the opportunity to say goodbye, they get the opportunity to say how much they love them. If they are religious, they get the chance to pray or have the last rites performed.
The success is now in the shape of what you have done for the family, and that is a gift that is beyond any statistic or performance indicator or successful resuscitation’s.
As far as Michael, his colleagues and their 11 yr old patient. Well done!!
His family will never forget what you all achieved for them!