Saturday, September 02, 2006

Another New One

I have never been in the position of becoming angry at someone whom just had a family member die. Today I had to deliver bad news to a parent about their 2 month old little boy. It was unclear when we stopped the resuscitation what the cause of death was but the little baby arrived very cold and very dead and nothing we did or could do made any difference at all. I immedidiately called the Chaplain to be with me when I met the parent and the chaplain arrived just as I made it into the 'quiet room'.

I sat with the parent and asked what happened at home to try to paint the complete picture for them, and let them know that the medics and all involved did everything possible to save their child. The idea is to let them start talking and to interject when appropriate and complete the story.

Early on I could see this wouldn't work. The more the parent talked the more I realized that they were drunk. Then I had to tell them that their little baby had died and that I didn't know why and that I was sorry.

Within a minute of that the parent had decompensated to the point that I had to have the police come near the door, I had to assist the parent to a seat, and I then confronted them, "... I am terribly sorry about your son but it is my opinion that you are intoxicated and I absolutely will not let you in to see him unless and until you can compose yourself." This parent's father, who seemed completely unlike his child, nodded affirmatively as I spoke.

The case is under investigation. There will be an autopsy.

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