Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tribute to a Good Nurse

This is not a happy posting, in case you need a warning. If you are looking for cheer today, it's not here.

I learned yesterday that one of the dear nurses who took care of Katie (after her big surgery) has died.
I learned that she died from suicide.
She died from suicide, several months after an accidental medical error which resulted in the death of a small child.
The media had a field day with the error, after it was revealed. They came down like a ton of bricks on the hospital - and by implication, on the nurse (whose identity was never revealed to the public, including me).
I did not know that it was the dear woman who took such loving care of Katie, and us.
The nurse who shares Katie's birthday.
Who came into work on her day off, their birthday, to bring gifts to Katie, though Katie was still mostly unconscious, at that point.
The one who gave warm encouragement to us, and brought humor to her work.
The loving mother of two children.
That nurse.
I am devastated for her, for her family, for her children.
Her death will not alleviate the pain of the family of the child who died as the result of the dosing error.
Her death will not undo the mistake.
Her death is another tragedy in an already tragic story.
I have been depressed and tearful since I learned about it.
I wish I had known, just so that I could send her a card, a letter, anything - to remind her of how much her skill and care had blessed our family. I wish I had known, so that I could have encouraged her, as she encouraged me, in the dark days.
It's not that I think I could have saved her...but I wish I could have been present for her, to hold the light, even in a small way, as she did for us.
I wish I could have lifted even just a bit of her pain.
If you are a praying person, please pray for this precious woman's family, and for the hospital staff.
Thank you.


Elizabeth said...

I was just thinking of you, with a stab, actually, wondering how you are, what is going on. I am so sorry, so deeply sorry. When does it all end? Whether we know that or not, I ask the question. I will pray for her, her family, and you. Sending love and blessings --

Maggie May said...

Karen that is so painful. I'm very sorry. This is why we need to keep evolving in our views on medical mistakes...people who truly care DO make mistakes. I will pray for her family.

ChiTown Girl said...

Oh, Karen, how horribly tragic. I'm so very sorry. I will absolutely say a prayer for her and her family, as well as for you. I've dealt with suicide within my own family, and I know, firsthand, the effect it has on those 'left behind.'

I'm glad she was able to be such a blessing to all of you when she cared for Katie. I, too, wish that you had been able to tell her during her dark hours. Like you said, it may not have saved her, but then again, it might have let her see things in a different light.

So, so sad...

Allegra Smith said...

When a light goes out in this world we all feel the dim shadow that takes away the joy and the peace of the spirit.

The media in cases such as this is not an avenging angel it is the voice of ignorance and mob mentality. Humans make mistakes. No matter what profession, no matter what situation. We know what we know and some times that is all we know and thus, we act in good faith and try hard not to do harm in the process.

To err is human, to forgive Divine I was told since I was a little girl. Her pain must have been too much to hold within and she did what she thought would release her from a prison of untold pain at the hands of those who will always look for the mote in someone else's eye and not the beam in one's own. She may rest in peace, and may all those who love her find comfort in knowing that she will be remembered by those she tended with love and care for the person she really was, helpful and loving and compassionate.

I wish I were closer to make a cup of tea and hold your hand. Love from here.

MindiTheMagnificent said...

I read this first thing, this morning and have not been able to get it out of my head.

It hits especially close to my heart, considering Gregory was treated there and we consider it our Home-away-from-HomeHome.

Holding this nurse, her family and her extended caregiver family close to my heart, today.

Thank you for sharing another painful reality of this life we live.

Mary Potts said...

Oh Karen, this is so so sad. I think of all the dedicated, loving, compassionate nurses who cared for Erin. I think of how exhausted one becomes. I think of how everyone makes errors. I think of how people pass judgement. I think of how we must all be forgiven...
Oh, this just breaks my heart. I'm so very sorry for this woman's family, and for you... such pain.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is horrific news...horrific circumstances all around. My heart hurts for you, for her family, for everyone involved. Prayers are being said in her name.

amanda said...

Praying for everyone! That poor woman, those poor families... ))you((

AnnDeO said...

I am so so sorry. Accidents are allowed to happened, this I know, because a terrible accident took the life of my mother and there is no comfort in blame. I will pray for this family and in time I hope they feel the blessing her life and vocation were to so many.

Kay said...

So sad. We had so many amazing nurses, so I know what you are talking about. And then to put all the circumstances with it..just beyond sad. Sooo sorry for ALL involved.

Angela & Adam said...

Karen - continuing to hold you in love, and all involved as well. Your post was beautifully written, full of dignity. I will continue you!

Robin said...

Oh GOD, Karen. I just read your first 3 paragraphs. I will come back and finish after a little while.

God DAMN it.

Robin said...

Well, you know what I am feeling. I am thinking of her family 2.5 years from now and of how she never intended for them to have to endure what lies ahead. Or you or any of the other families for whose children she cared.

If only there were a way, before it's too late, to say, This is not all there is; this terrible pain will become something else.

Of course, I still have to say that to myself all the time.

I am so sorry, Karen, for this new and terrible loss for you.

karen gerstenberger said...

Me, too, Robin - to everything you said.

Daisy said...

I will most certainly pray, Karen. I was going to say: "What else can we do?" But I think that the only other thing we can do is to talk about our pain which is exactly what you are doing. I am so grateful to you for it.


Karen said...

Love and hugs to you, Karen. Nothing else to say on this one. It's a headshaking tragedy on every side. God have mercy.

Mary said...

Oh Karen, I am so sorry. She sounds like she was an incredibly caring and thoughtful person. This is just so tragic all around.

Karla said...

Thanks for the warning. You made me catch my breath. How tragic for everyone.