Patricia Apicella

Patricia Apicella

Patricia Apicella, RNC

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Bon Secours Charity Health System
Suffern, New York
United States

Patricia Apicella, RNC, is truly worthy of this DAISY Award and is a Caritas nurse. Recently, we had a mother who was pregnant with twins with a history of infertility. The parents viewed the twins and pregnancy as a miracle. The nurse caring for this mother could not find a heart beat on one of the twins. An emergency c/section was immediately performed and it was too late to save Twin A. Twin B, a beautiful baby boy, went to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Overnight this baby vomited once a small amount but seemed fine. The next morning Patricia noticed a small amount of emesis from the baby. This is not abnormal but her gut told her that something was not right with this baby and could not understand why she felt this way. She immediately reported it to the neonatologist and shared that she felt something was making her anxious about this. He listened and did an abdominal x-ray which was normal. The neonatologist started IV fluids and made the baby NPO as a precaution. All day Patricia assessed this baby carefully, supported the grief ridden parents keeping them informed as they struggled with this difficult situation.

At 6:45pm before her shift was over she examined the baby one last time before giving report. She noted the baby's abdomen looked slightly broader and getting a little firmer. She immediately called the neonatologist to notify him of her findings. She stated that she knew she was obsessing over this baby today but asked him to please take a look. He came to examine her findings and as she sat the baby up green bile came out of the baby's mouth. This too could have been nothing too serious. A repeat abd. X-ray was performed. This time showed something abnormal. The neonatologist called to transfer the baby since he strongly believed that it needed a surgical consult. At first they didn't want to accept the admission and recommended to do more testing. The neonatologist insisted since he trusted Patricia's instincts and now his own that something more was wrong with this baby. They both wanted this family to be spared any more potential grief and heartache.

The baby was transferred immediately and was diagnosed with a Jejunal Atresia (part of the intestines were not connected) that required immediate surgery. Thanks to DAISY Nurse Patricia for trusting her instincts that something was just not right, performing excellent assessment skills and providing loving care so that this baby received immediate surgical intervention. He is doing well and home with his parents. This is truly a miracle.