Have any of you been following the story of Amanda Trujillo? Amanda is an AMAZING nurse who is an excellent example as a patient advocate and as a result, lost her job. You can actually read her story here with Vernon Dutton, a fellow nurse advocate. I met Amanda several months ago through social media. As I put up the page on Facebook that represents Nurses On The Edge, Amanda became a fan and we engaged in an awesme discussion about nurses experiencing stress and burnout. She didn’t disclose her entire story at that time to me. We found, however, that we really “got” each other. We experienced a real connection as we shared our hearts and knew we wanted to help other nurses experiencing stress due to corporate pressure, physician’s verbal abuse, and even peer-to-peer bullying.
After our conversation, I began to read about the struggles Amanda experienced as a direct result of being a patient advocate. These words from Amanda caused me to remember a situation many years ago. “Nurses are afraid to speak up when they see unsafe or unethical practice taking place with their patients’ lives”. I remember several years ago as an Intensive Care Nurse, we got a call from surgery. There was a man “coding” in surgery, and you know, there is always so much investigation when someone dies in surgery. So, the physician wanted the patient up in the ICU and out of the surgical suite. It seems the patient was having a “simple” surgical operation and the surgeon “nicked” the portal vein. This particular patient began to bleed uncontrollably and it could not be repaired or stopped. Due to the high blood loss, the patient developed DIC. (Disseminated intravascular coagulation) This is true. The patient did develop DIC. However the family was told by the surgeon that the patient started bleeding in surgery and developed this disorder. What the physician DID NOT disclose was that he had cut the portal vein so severely that he could not get it repaired in order to stop the bleeding. The patient came to our unit and it wasn’t long before he succumbed to this tragic ending to a simple surgery. I took the patient’s family contact number and for the longest time wanted to make an anonymous phone call and tell them to get an autopsy. Why didn’t I follow through? I regret that now.
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Andrew Lopez, RN