Debbie Keefer LaCalamito and Jennifer Ghent collaboratively took on a tremendously difficult patient and were instrumental in his recovery process.
This patient had a cardiac arrest pre-hospital (most likely from a medication overdose either intentionally or accidentally) and was given a poor prognosis from the beginning. It was uncertain how long he was down before EMS arrived, so hope of full recovery was minimal from the beginning. He remained on a vent for a period of time, and as he began to surface from a coma, his actions became wild, aggressive and psychotic. He was a large man and many nurses were afraid of him due to his unconscious violence. It was difficult to get him to a safe place medically because this was not a true psychosis, but a hypoxic traumatic brain injury cause and he just was not responding to any "normal" sedating medication and often had to be restrained and protected.
Over the days and weeks he was given good custodial care, but discharge planning was becoming a nightmare. Then these two nurses came together as a team to try to think outside the box to find ways to support this man in his recovery. I became so appreciative of their approach as it was not just routine, and neither believed that this was the best he could be. We tried some experimental approaches with him and, to make a long story short, after weeks in the hospital, on day three of these nurses caring for him, he sat up and ate lunch.
When I thanked the nurses for their vision and extraordinary care, compassion and attention to this man, the response was one of surprise and the response was: "This is what I would want someone to do for my father or brother or family member."
I have worked with these two nurses on other cases, and they consistently bring extraordinary care to their patients. I have never heard complacency in their voices, and their approach is always fresh and dedicated with each new patient challenge.
They inspire me and often are the fuel that keeps me going when I am having a discouraging day.