Last month I witnessed Dana Cordero save her patient's life. Dana was rounding and she noticed that the patient was depressed. He had the lights off, the door closed, a flat affect, he was not eating or drinking and he was constantly throwing up. She asked him if she can sit and talk with him to find out what was going on. At first he was hesitant but she seemed to charm him and he agreed to talk to her. He said that no one knows what is really wrong with him. The doctors told him that he had gastroparesis, he needs a gastric pacemaker and he is discharged. She knew that the patient should not be discharged, something else was wrong. Her nursing gut intuition got the best of her and she began to investigate.
She had the MD hold the discharge due to the patient being unable to eat and his overall disposition was unstable. She also asked for a GI consult. The GI consultant began TPN immediately. Every day she would check on him discussing the plan of care and by doing this she began to build a trusting bond with him and his family. Daily she would work with case management to get the patient the gastric pacemaker while he was an inpatient. After a few days, even with her diligence there were multiple issues with trying to get the patient the pacemaker.
The patient's depression got worse and he was consumed by his hopelessness. Dana told the patient that he better not give up because she was not going down without a fight. Later that day the patient vomited foul smelling contents. She told the primary nurse to call the GI consultant and surgeon. They ordered another CT scan and the radiologist reported that there was a possible mass. The information was relayed to the surgeon and the surgeon scheduled surgery.
The surgical finding was an obstructing 25cm tumor not gastroparesis. The tumor was removed and the patient recovered. He stopped vomiting and he started to eat. The day after surgery she went to visit him, he was smiling and the lights were on! She was ecstatic. I went to visit the patient and both he and his sister told me that his nurse saved his life. Dana gave him hope and for this he will be forever grateful. The patient was discharged later that week with a whole new outlook on life. This extraordinary nurse's relentlessness and skills saved her patient's life and this is why Dana Cordero is being honored with the DAISY Award.