Today concludes Lisa’s story– a story that likely happens every day– nurses advocating on behalf of their patients to save their lives.
You can read Part I here.
Welcome back, Lisa!
I instantly had a suspicion of what I might be dealing with and finally called the pulmonologist. Lucky for me, it was a doctor I was quite familiar with and someone I trusted. He could sense the urgency in my voice, as I relayed the information to him. And he started dictating a number of tests that he wanted done. I had to get firm with him, and finally told him to stop.
“She just returned from India 2 weeks ago, she’s been in and out of 3 hospitals and 4 urgent cares in the last 2 weeks.”
He stopped dead in his tracks, and said, “Lisa, what do you think this is we are dealing with?”
I was shocked he asked, but I had a gut feeling. “I think she might have malaria.”
His reply was a barrage of orders and ended with a “Holy . . .”
“Wait,” I replied.
He stopped and asked what was wrong. I then relayed that she had taken her 2 year old daughter with her.
Here’s the thing. I had heard about malaria and we had touched on it in nursing school, but I had never seen a case of it, so I had truly no idea if that was right. His mind was racing too. This was South Carolina! We don’t see cases of malaria here. He said I needed to call the hospitalist back and make sure he told the husband to take the little girl to the children’s hospital.
I called the hospitalist back and had to argue with him on the phone. I remember as clear as day telling him that if he didn’t let the man know to get his 2 year old daughter to the hospital, her death would be on his hands not mine. I remember arguing and even cussing at him, I was so angry and he seemed to care about was that I was interrupting his 3 am sleep.
Fast forward . . .
The lady ended up being transferred to the other hospital where in fact the 2 year old had been admitted for also having a case of Malaria. The husband had not traveled with them so luckily he had not contracted it. My patient was transferred to the other hospital on her 30th
birthday. What a way to spend your birthday!
In the end, both she and her daughter were treated and were fine. But that story still warms my heart, because of my stubbornness and persistence I truly believe that I was responsible for saving not one but two precious lives.
The following day I was leaving the floor and heading home. For some reason I decided to go through the ICU to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
As I walked past the nursing station, I heard a man’s voice saying, “Are you Lisa?” I stopped to see the face of an unfamiliar doctor. “Yes, I’m Lisa.”
“The same Lisa who called me last night and chewed me a new orifice, and demanded I call Mrs.X’s husband?”
I sheepishly replied, “Uh, yeah, that was me, guilty as charged.” I said holding up my right hand in admission of being the woman who had made his night a living hell.
He bowed and said, “You may have just saved not only 2 lives, but my career.”
He reached over and kissed my hand in a bowed position with one knee on the floor. I was to say the least shocked and embarrassed. The entire ICU staff started smiling at me. I left with the biggest smile on my face and my heart filled with joy.
Those are the moments that make nursing truly worthwhile.
Shortly after this happened, have you traveled outside of the country was added to the admission forms.
Lisa was born Lise Amanda Forest on November 19, 1966 in Ontario. She has 2 children, and 1 grandchild. She currently, lives in SC. Lisa speaks French and English. She graduated from College and worked as a flight attendant for a Montreal based airline. Lisa is a world traveler, having been to South America, Caribbean, and all over Europe; Lisa has been employed as an RN for the last 18 years. Lisa has moonlighted as a realtor and interior designer. Now she’s a writer and her debut novel Oracle is in editing. You can visit Lisa at her blog www.lisaforest.blogspot.com.