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Any nurses be able to help me know what happened?

(41 Posts)
DO3271 Thu 21-Sep-17 21:24:17

5 years ago my son was admitted to hospital when I wasn't with him. I had gone to my sisters an hour away. I still struggle with the guilt. He was very very ill, he was transferred and on life support but did make a full recovery. My ex has never explained all that happened but I need details.

All he tells me is this. He went to check on him and he was lying in a pool of sweat with blue-ish lips, he called 999 and when the paramedic got there he snatched him up and ran to the ambulance. They got to hospital and he was whisked away. Next they were transferred to Southampton to the childrens ICU. I met them there. He was on life support I think, then a medically induced coma. He had electrodes in his head, his wrists and ankles. He had a tube in his mouth and tape over his eyes. It was a bit of a blur but after a day there I remember them telling me they were going to turn off some kind of medication in the hope he would respond. When they did he flipped over and tried to crawl up the bed and they seem a bit shocked. They then brought him off everything and he picked up. It was labelled as a massive asthma attack. He wasn't diagnosed with it.

If anyone has an understanding of what happens in A&E I would be so grateful if you could answer some questions.

Would he have been treated as a top level emergency?
Would a team have been waiting for him?
(He has 40% blood oxygen and unresponsive)
Would they have really been concerned that he may not have woken up? Or had suffered brain damage?

I suppose I just want to know the process of admitting a case like his. The gap in my knowledge of what happened still really upsets me. I let him down, I am so sure I would have been more attentive, got to him sooner. I just feel so guilty.

Dairymilkmuncher Thu 21-Sep-17 21:29:09

I hope you get answers soon. I don't lnow about the medical stuff but really you have no reason to feel guilty here I'm sure you got there as fast as you could when you found out. Please speak to someone in real life about this and try and concentrate on the good times with your little one flowers

Applesandpears56 Thu 21-Sep-17 21:29:18

I can't answer your question but wanted to respond - you do know it's not your fault right? You can't be with someone 24/7.
Also I don't know the details but having been in a similar emergency situation it might well be your ex can't remember any more details. It's not that he's not telling you. My child's admission was all a blur - I couldn't say what happened and I was there throughout. The adrenaline kicks in and the mind functions in emergency mode only.

Applesandpears56 Thu 21-Sep-17 21:31:37

Also I know how hard it is not having a proper diagnosis - it means you don't really know what happened or if it will happen again. Try and push for a referral to a paed or other dr for investigations? You may never get answers though and that is hard to live with.

Rocketbuddies Thu 21-Sep-17 21:32:45

Please don't feel guilty. You got there when you could, it could have happened when he was at school, or with a babysitter etc.

Perhaps it is worth talking it over with a counsellor?

Bluerose27 Thu 21-Sep-17 21:33:25

Would the hospital have a file they could go through with you?

DO3271 Thu 21-Sep-17 21:36:51

Thank you. Just having a bit of a cry about it again. I have spoken to a counsellor before but I need the knowledge of the actual process to make sense of it all I think. I have moved 2 times since it happened so it wouldn't be practical to go to the hospital.

Still wish I had been there.

Applesandpears56 Thu 21-Sep-17 21:36:55

Yes request his records from the hospital and you can get a bit more detail as to what went on -ask the hospital pal office how to get his records

OuchBollocks Thu 21-Sep-17 21:37:10

My DS was admitted this year (you don't say how old yours was, my DS was 3 weeks). I thought he had a bad cold, the GP said he had extreme breathing difficulties and oxygen at about 80%. Yes he was treated as a top level emergency. Yes the ambulance came in frighteningly fast time, he was whisked to resus and yes there was massive team (teams?) of people waiting to see him. We were lucky, it was only bronchiolitis, but I also feel guilty, I almost didn't bother taking him to the doctor ffs and my tiny infant couldn't breathe! But my DS and your DS are fine and guilt is unhelpful - I didn't realise mine was so ill and you couldn't have known flowers

Applesandpears56 Thu 21-Sep-17 21:37:27

They can send you in post for a small fee

elliejjtiny Thu 21-Sep-17 21:37:56

Big unmumsnetty hugs. Try not to feel guilty (easier said than done). I understand that you need to know what happened. My 3 year old was born with neonatal sepsis and needed a lot of intervention at birth, similar to your little boy. I was obviously there but I had sepsis too so I really didn't understand what was going on. I found it really helpful to read through his medical notes (you can request this from the hospital) and talk to the Dr who delivered him. The Drs who treated your son will have their names on his notes. You can get their contact details from the hospital website. If you email or phone them I'm sure they will answer your questions.

SandunesAndRainclouds Thu 21-Sep-17 21:41:00

Ex nurse so ill try to answer until someone more knowledgeable comes along.

Assuming the ambulance crew found him as described, then yes he would've been priority. Most likely the crew would've let A&E know they were coming in. A team is always on standby for priority emergencies, however if they need extra people (anaesthetist & assistant for example) then they are called to the department.

Difficult to answer the last two questions without being there or seeing his observations and diagnosis etc. It's always a concern about brain damage if oxygenation has been limited but again hard to guess without being there.

Was DS a child at the time (or have I missed age, apologies if so). You could get in touch with PALS and ask to have a debrief.

Sorry you're having a tough time flowers

Hulder Thu 21-Sep-17 21:44:00

Your son's GP would have the discharge letter from the hospital explaining what the admission was about, which would be a starting point - the letter would explain what they did and what the diagnosis was.

Why not go and talk it over with the GP - if you still need more answers you could get a copy of the notes, although this would be best done with someone who can talk through them with you, which may be difficult if you have moved away. GP might be happy to do this but it may be very time consuming and ideally would be best done via PALS at the original hospital.

I would suggest seeing your son's GP is the first step as the letter will be on his record and going over it and seeing where you want to go after that.

SomedayMyPrinceWillCome Thu 21-Sep-17 21:45:31

Ok, let me see what I can answer for you (Snr A&E sister for 15 yrs)

The ambulance crew can "pre alert" hospital that they are bringing in an acute ill or injured patient, the hospital can then have appropriate teams ready & waiting the receive the patient. In your son's case possibly paediatricians & anaesthetists (Drs who can safely put a patient on life support)

Oxygen levels of 40% are enough to cause unconsciousness

If the oxygen levels were low enough for long enough there is a real possibility of a hypoxic brain injury which can really only be assessed for fully when the patient is woken up

Speedy admission to ITU allows expert Drs & nurses to insert monitoring lines & tubes in a clean environment that they are totally familiar with.

CaptWentworth Thu 21-Sep-17 21:45:33

I am an adult nurse, paediatric care is very specialised, but it sounds as if he was sedated and intubated. A tube was inserted into his airway, for a machine to push oxygen into his lungs. It sounds very much like an emergency situation, and asthma in children and adults can be unpredictable and very dangerous. Even as a nurse, patients with acute asthma symptoms can suddenly deteriorate without warning. You are not to blame, even if you'd known he was poorly, you could not have predicted what would happen.

There would have been a paediatric team waiting for him at A+E, and almost certainly he would have been prioritised as an emergency and taken to resus.

I would approach the GP and ask for a 'de-brief', an explanation of everything that happened. Even if they don't have all the information to hand, they can get your son's notes and talk you through it.

I'm quite shocked you were not informed adequately as to what was happening.

DO3271 Thu 21-Sep-17 21:51:21

It was 3 weeks before his 3rd birthday

I am watching Ambulance in BBC1 and its brought it all back.

The whole night was a nightmare. Driving and praying he wouldn't die. Having to change direction as he was being transferred from Winchester to Southampton. Asking my sister (Bournemouth) to go to Southampton to so she could collect my baby girl. My sister had a car accident on the way back to my house but no one hurt but car badly damaged.

I don't think I slept for 3 days while it happened. Its been 5 years and I still can't deal with it. Poor boy has been through so much. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last November.

Sorry, think I am just wallowing now, just want those missing days back.

DO3271 Thu 21-Sep-17 21:55:19

Thank you so much to the nurses for taking the time to explain. I will make an appointment with my GP and start there. His file will be huge bless him. Just need facts to make sense of it all.

Really, truly appreciate the responses. Thank you.

PurpleCrazyHorse Thu 21-Sep-17 21:58:40

Having worked for an ambulance trust and a hospital, I would suspect if the ambulance crew whisked your son away, then would have done so on blue lights and with a priority call to hospital.

I would contact the PALS service at the hospital that treated your son and chat to them. They might be able to supply a copy of the records or for you to come and chat to someone about what happened. I think going to them and chatting about it would be best so you can ask questions or for further clarity/explanation. Maybe you could travel and stay locally to do this? It is often possible to have a debrief after a traumatic experience (a friend had this a couple of years after her son had a traumatic birth). If you can't travel, maybe it could be done by phone?

Wishing you the best of luck. What happened is in no way your fault and even if you were there it is possible you might not have known what was going on or anticipated it happening.

SandunesAndRainclouds Thu 21-Sep-17 21:59:50

I get the guilt (I have massive guilt over DD's hospital admission) but in all honesty, nothing would have changed by you being there. It is so, so hard not being able to fix your baby - we get used to rubbing or kissing bumps and grazes better but when that is taken away, and there is nothing you can do can control, influence or change what is happening... well it's hideously painful. Don't be hard on yourself.

Featherbag Thu 21-Sep-17 22:01:57

Would he have been treated as a top level emergency? Yes, absolutely.
Would a team have been waiting for him? Yes - ambulance crews radio ahead when they are bringing someone who needs immediate attention. They give a brief but concise outline of the person's symptoms and condition, as well as what treatment has already been given. They give an estimate of how long they'll be. The resus coordinator at A&E then assembles the team, using the information from the crew to call in relevant specialities, and sets up a treatment area with all potentially necessary equipment and drugs.
Would they have really been concerned that he may not have woken up? Or had suffered brain damage?
The emergency and intensive care teams will not lie to you - and they will give you as much information as they can as soon as they can.

I'm so pleased your little one came through this unharmed, I can understand why you're struggling to deal with it all xx

DO3271 Thu 21-Sep-17 22:05:15

I think it was the lack on control and the feeling if utter uselessness that have worn me down. He doesn't remember a thing. Even with the diabetes now he is a big strong chunk of a lad, affectionate and happy.

I am sure I could stay with my sister who is closer to Winchester and Southampton if I could speak to those hospitals. It may take some effort but I need to lay these ghosts to rest.

Gibble1 Thu 21-Sep-17 22:09:09

The ambulance crew would have radioed ahead.
The hospital would have been notified and put out the call for the resus team (anaesthetist included) and the bed management team would likely have been contacted to get an ITU bed sorted as a priority.
The ambulance technician will drive like the wind while the paramedic did everything possible for your DS such as cannulating and giving fluids, measuring blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, blood glucose, heart rhythm, oxygen levels and coma score.
On arrival at hospital, DS would be transferred onto another trolley. All information would be handed over by the paramedic to the team leader.
The resus team would hook up DS to their monitoring. Remove wet clothes. Assess him head to toe for injury and other causes. Send bloods for infection markers, send blood gasses to see what they needed to do. Arrange chest X-ray and possibly CT scans.
The itu consultant would be called in most likely and would then have assessed him. He may well have been ventilated prior to this.
The decision was obviously made to ventilate your DS so he would have been sedated (do you remember a milky looking syringe being stopped before he suddenly awoke? That's propofol). Then he would have had a tube out in his throat and mechanical ventilation would have taken over the work of his breathing. Pressures etc are all adjusted to the results of frequent blood gas analysis.
He would have had an arterial line inserted to measure accurately his blood pressure and allow frequent blood tests. He would have had a catheter to monitor his urine output very closely to show his kidneys were working.
He may have had a feeding tube put into his nose and he may have had a central line put into his neck to enable lots of drugs.
There are lots of different inotropic drugs he may have been given to support his blood pressure until he was woken up.
He will have been bathed and turned regularly and the staff would have talked to him all the time.
It is very usual to reduce sedation every day to ensure that there is some brain activity. If there is a big reaction, it often shows a person is fit to be woken and take over their own breathing again (with support if necessary).
The wires in his head may have monitored brain activity but I have not had any experience of them so can't comment sorry.
I hope this helps. I too recommend counselling though.

SirNiallDementia Thu 21-Sep-17 22:16:45

I second the idea of looking at the discharge letter and medical records.

DS was very ill after being born and whisked straight off to ICU, tubes, ventilator etc. I was really badly affected by it, the lack of control, lack of information (drs took a while to work out what was wrong), I couldn't be with him for the first few hours, thought he was going to die.

I was a wreck for months afterwards.
What really helped was finding a copy of the very detailed letter the hospital sent to my GP clarifying what had happened, it really helped me process what had happened and why and filled in lots of gaps in my knowledge.

I hope you get the answers you are looking for x

Gibble1 Thu 21-Sep-17 22:17:55

Sorry, I missed the hospital transfer part.
Your DS will have been fully assessed by the team at the first hospital. Stabilised, probably intubated and ventilated and then, when safe for him to transfer, he would have been transferred with a minimum of an anaesthetist and a nurse who have both done a patient transfer course and advanced life support training and a paramedic ambulance crew. The hospital they were transferring to would have been called in advance and the anaesthetist would discuss over the phone with their ITU team what was known so far. All notes and results would be photocopied and transferred across to the receiving hospital.

Etymology23 Thu 21-Sep-17 22:24:03

This thread reminds me of how fantastic mumsnet is. So many knowledgeable people there helping others. I hope you get the answers you are searching for OP.

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