My night in the hospital

As darkness neared, I was worried. We had sick premature twins, a new diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis, Little Doctor had fever, a patient with septic shock and a one year-old patient with hypovolemic shock (severely dehydrated). I could not leave the hospital with six acutely ill patients so I decided to stay the night.

My first job was to find an interpreter. I approached one of my favorite English-speaking nurses, Gaby, and asked him to stay at the hospital for an extra 15 hours. I asked him his typical pay for that time period and he said “five dollars would be good”. I said, “let’s make it 10 dollars and you work with any patient that needs help”. He happily agreed.

The night started out with a flury of action. One of the sick premature infants coded at 8PM. We gave breaths with an inflatable bag and intermittently did chest compressions. He had no pulse on multiple occasions, but we were able to restore life several times. Finally, after 90 minutes of very hard work, he died. In retrospect, I should have allowed him to die peacefully much sooner, but I was unable to stop trying.

Fortunately the remainder of the night went much better. The other five patients did well.


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