PICU at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital
University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
Kayla had her shoes off and climbed into the bed to hold the child tight making sure the surroundings included all of the child’s babies and wrapped in favorite blankets.
Last month, a long-term ECMO patient suddenly decompensated, requiring full resuscitative measures. Despite everyone’s heroic efforts, it was clear that our patient would not survive. Further complicating this situation was that the family was not present, as they were driving from Des Moines to be with the patient. After 65+ days on ECMO, you really get to know your patients’ likes and dislikes, and this little one LOVED to snuggle and give hugs. The question was posed to the room if someone would be willing to hold and comfort our patient as they passed, and without hesitating, Kayla had her shoes off and climbed into the bed to hold the child tight making sure the surroundings included all of the child’s babies and wrapped in favorite blankets. The final minutes of this little warrior’s life were wrapped in love, compassion, and more importantly, not alone. Writing this brings tears to my eyes that—despite Kayla’s own grief and sorrow—she wrapped the child in her arms and provided love until the parents could arrive. This simple act of love, selflessness, and compassion was a bright spot on a dark day. Pediatric nursing is a calling, after what I witnessed that day, I’m even more convinced of that.