MOMENTS: Misplaced kindness

February 2004 
Volume 34  Number 2
Pages 77 - 77
  PDF Version Available!

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 34(2)             February 2004             p 77 Misplaced kindness [MOMENTS]


Eileen Higgins Driscoll of Escondido, Calif., is a retired RN.

ON A DIM SUNDAY morning back in 1953, I was completing rounds in a small California hospital. Back then, we didn't have designated postsurgical recovery rooms or a pediatric unit, so I wasn't surprised to encounter 8-year-old Billy recovering from an emergency appendectomy he'd had the night before.

What did surprise me was Billy's appearance: His skin was hot and dry to the touch, and so white that it was almost transparent. His breathing was rapid and labored. He didn't respond when I touched him or called his name. Knowing something was seriously wrong with my patient, I immediately called the surgeon who'd performed the appendectomy ...

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