This week I read this incredibly sad story of a nurse who had accidentally caused the death of a baby by giving it too much medicine. She’d been known as a great nurse for over 25 years, and in just a couple of seconds – made a horrific mistake.
This poor lady committed suicide recently. She was wracked with so much guilt over what was really, a terrible accident.
This story really struck me. I keep putting myself in her shoes, and I know I wouldn’t have handled that well either. How do you live with yourself after doing something, even accidentally, that is so… tragic? How do you cope? Can you?
Truthfully, I don’t know. I still feel such unresolved guilt over every little thing that my birth-mother went through in her home that I was either 1) powerless to stop or 2) too unconfident to stop. Heck. Forget the big stuff – I still have guilt over yelling at a clerk ten years ago. Handling guilt is not my strongest attribute.
The people in the health care industry have it rough though. Doctors have to make patients spend money so the hospitals can employ people – betraying the good hearts that made them want to become doc’s in the first place. Nurses are often treated as second-class citizens. Both can and will make mistakes, because they’re not Gods – just humans who chose a very difficult path. We expect them to empathize with us – but where is our (the public’s) empathy for them?
No, I don’t want anyone to make a mistake with me, or you, or anyone. But we’re not dealing with machines, we’re dealing with human beings.
Maybe coping has as much to do with realizing that all you can do is your best, even if you’re not perfect all the time. But I don’t know. I sometimes still can’t sleep at night sometimes for much, much smaller things. God bless that woman, and doctors and nurses everywhere.