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Katie Duke’s Favorite Patient Story For Nurses Week



Hey, guys! It’s Katie Duke, and in honor of Nurses Week I wanted to share one of my most favorite patient stories ever of all time.

A patient was pulled out of a cab with chest pain assisted into triage, and he collapsed in front of the triage nurse in triage. It was an entire team of us in the resus room resuscitating this patient. He was a 50 something year old man. We are resuscitating this man and he’s having this persistent v fib arrest and he goes into PEA. We ended up even giving him thrombolytics which is a very risky but aggressive measure with cardiac arrest and resuscitation measures. 52 minutes he was down. You know, back and forth from PEA to v fib arrest to having an actual viable rhythm, and we finally got a blood pressure on him and a stable rhythm after multiple algorithms and ACLs. When we got a rhythm back and a blood pressure, we took him immediately up to the cath lab and he had a widow maker which is like a hundred percent complete total  chronic total occlusion of one of his major vessels in his heart, and he ended up coding again in the cath lab. Then after that you know he had an aneurysm that ruptured that that nobody knew about, so that was a whole other can of worms on his side.

Five, six days later one of the critical care attending doctors came down to the ER to get me. He’s like “Hey, Duke. That patient that you guys resuscitated the other day, that long, crazy, chaotic resuscitation, he’s awake, and there he has neurological deficits, and he’s sitting in the chair today like having lunch with his family.”

And I was like “Shut up. You gotta be kidding me.” That doesn’t happen all the time.

So I went up to visit this man, and I’ll never forget the moment that I went up and saw him and he and his wife like his wife just – I get all emotional when I talk about this because this is what nursing is all about. His wife stood up, and she just embraced me and she hugged me like my she was my own mom and she goes, “I don’t know how to thank somebody for giving my husband a second chance at life. All I can do is hug you and tell you I will love you forever.” And he stood up and he’s like “I don’t know how to thank you” and I was like, “You know what? This is… no thanks required. Seeing you is everything I will ever need.”

And every day on the anniversary of his cardiac arrest he comes back to the emergency room and brings cookies and cakes from Brooklyn because that’s where he’s from. He’s just a really special man, and his family is really special and amazing.

That is what nursing is all about, so I just wanted to share. It’s one of my greatest moments and one of my best memories from all the years of my profession, so on that note happy Nurses Week and a salute to all of you guys out there who have also contributed to giving someone a second chance. Thank you.

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