I Lost a Patient to COVID-19…and then Openly Sobbed
He was 43-years-old, and his loss caused all my emotions to flow out
He was very sick with COVID-19. His oxygen levels were dangerously low, and he needed a lot of support with pressure and oxygen to make sure his levels remained normal. The team and I was watching him very closely, because any sign of distress would mean he would need to go on a ventilator. So far, he was holding his own.
By the next day, however, things became a little worse. While he was still talking to me and able to interact with us — albeit in a tight-fitting mask — there were subtle signs of distress, and I did not want him to struggle more, which can cause lung damage in and of itself. And so, I decided to intubate and place him on a ventilator. I got all dressed up in my PPE, said a prayer, and then entered his room.
The set up for the intubation was routine, and once everything was ready, I said another prayer and proceeded with intubation. The procedure went very smoothly. That was not the problem. It was afterwards that something went wrong.
I was absolutely sure the tube went into the lungs. Despite this, his lungs were not moving properly on the machine. His oxygen levels were still low. We then took him off the ventilator and breathed for him manually. His oxygen levels finally came up, and I was relieved. Then, suddenly, his heart rate slowed down and then stopped altogether.
We called a “CODE BLUE,” which means cardiac arrest has occurred and we need help. I immediately got on his chest myself and did CPR. We gave multiple drugs to jump start his heart. It worked, thank God, and his heart came back, and he even opened his eyes. I was so relieved.
There were a number of procedures I was planning to perform to help him get treatment, and as I was setting up for them, his oxygen decreased again. I started working with the ventilator, trying to do what I could to help bring them up. Then, his heart stopped again. We called another “CODE BLUE.”
We did CPR, we gave multiple drugs, we worked and worked and worked and worked on him. We did everything possible to try to bring him back. We were not successful. He died despite all that we did.