This is based on a true story. The name and some details of the events have been changed.  She was the smarter nurse who floated to ICU, to CVRU, to CCU. She could handle any crisis: balloon pumps, CRRT, open-heart patients, respiratory distress, code blues — anything. Sandy was quiet. She didn’t really have any nurse friends. She was a loner. But we could depend on her to take the most difficult assignments. She ...

Read more...

My name is Lucy. I have stage IV liver cancer. I wanted everything done — even though the doctors told me this disease is terminal. My family, my church and my friends were praying for “the cure.” Though I believed in God and the hereafter, I wasn’t ready to go. 74-years-old with beautiful children, grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. I woke up confused. In the background — wherever I was — I could hear ...

Read more...

Jenna had it all: She was smart, pretty, inquisitive and popular, with just one more year until she graduated from high school. She was at the top of her class and couldn't wait until high school was over, and she could become a pediatrician just like her dad. One day, Jenna would be an MD. "One day at a time," her parents always told her, even though she wanted to rush to ...

Read more...

It was a long December. A few years ago, my husband of 37 years got his death sentence: recurrence of liver cancer with mets to his lungs and lymph nodes. He had a “Whipple” — a surgical procedure for pancreatic cancer — on Dec 24, 2015, and the surgeon discovered liver cancer too. So it was a 16-hour surgery. We were told he might die on the table. His eyes haunted me as ...

Read more...

Patsy loved playing bingo every Wednesday night. Her boyfriend of three years loved watching her daughter Jenna who was a tiny and pretty six-year-old her momma called "princess." Even though they weren't related, Jenna called Patsy's boyfriend "Uncle Billy" at her mother's behest. And Uncle Billy made Jenna shyer and quieter than she usually was. He'd walk in on those Wednesday nights and demand a big hug and kiss on the cheek ...

Read more...

Years ago in a 15-bed acute medical-surgical ICU, the nursing supervisor contacted me about a special assignment. Once I knew what it was, I said, “Absolutely.” We were about to admit a patient in his 40s with end-stage AIDS/HIV. He asked to be a DNR, but his MD wanted to admit him to the ICU for close monitoring. But the patient had a special request. Even with IV antibiotics and pain ...

Read more...

How do I tell you who I am in a couple of paragraphs? Well, I was born in 1955, so that makes me 61 years old. My namesake is probably movie star and America's sweetheart Debbie Reynolds. My maternal grandfather was straight from Italy; my paternal grandfather was straight from Ireland. Both crossed the Atlantic and landed on Ellis Island in New York Harbor. It was the promised land. So, that means I ...

Read more...

I'm in the ICU and was just back from an incredible tropical vacation. Nine days of vegging out on the beach. The glistening ocean was just steps away from the five-star hotel I was staying in, where doormen greeted me with fruity daiquiris and a staff that couldn't wait to serve my every whim. I was in paradise, and far, far away from the reality of my day-to-day existence as an ...

Read more...

Victim: Female nurse, age 25 Time: circa 1980 Place: A hospital in a sleepy Southern town with fifty beds, six emergency department beds, one nurse, one doctor and one secretary. It was an unusually quiet Friday night in this small emergency department. We all knew Friday was "party day": pay day, play day, alcohol, pills, drugs, loud music and lots of really bad decisions. Not only did we cover the entire city, but we also ...

Read more...

He had cardiomyopathy and CHF for over 20 years. At the time, doctors told him he could die at any time. That was 20 years ago. His EF was 10 percent — barely livable. Two decades later, this admit kept him on a see-saw with respiratory distress, a bad heart, bad lungs, atrial fibrillation with RVR and heart rate in the 140s all day long. He progressed from nasal cannula to ...

Read more...

3 Pages
Join 141,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 141,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.
close-image