Sunday, January 15, 2006

things that go pop in the night

there's a beautiful baby here in our nursery who almost died a few nights ago. she developed one of the worst complications you can get in this age group...necrotizing enterocolitis, aka NEC. our resident was called at 3am by the nursing staff, reporting that she had some blood in her stool. in his sleepy wisdom, he decided that he needed to get up and examine her, instead of just attributing her symptoms to something common, like a fissure (which, incidentally, she did have). her belly was very firm and she looked extrememly uncomfortable, so he ordered the first of many films that showed one of the worst cases of NEC that we've ever seen. her whole bowel, from duodenum to sigmoid, was filled with pneumatosis intestinalis (air in the bowel wall). i think if the resident had not examined her and gotten that film, she would have perforated her bowel, the consequences of which are dreadful.
well, she did not perf. 4 days later, she looks like a peach. i sit up tonight waiting for a belly film on another baby with NEC. it's written for 2am, but i wait without bitterness, the lessons from this other baby fresh in my mind. we are human...we have to take the lessons whenever and wherever they come along. these babies are so fragile and depend upon us entirely. that kind of responsibility is hard to sleep through.

1 comment:

sister smile said...

Oy. What a powerfully written reflection. Kind of helps put other things very much in perspective.