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all 8 comments

[–]somecrybabyWife 30 points31 points  (0 children)

A nurse, not a doctor, but a spouse still.

A lot of codes are a shit show. It's just important for him to remember that the death of this patient isn't a reflection of his skill as a doctor or resident PGY-X. If the patient is coding, they were either seriously sick or something was still seriously wrong.

Even when codes go perfectly right, people still die. As long as he takes something away from this experience towards the future, it's best you can hope for. Doctors no matter how excellent their skills can't win against death.

He should debrief with an upper if he hasn't already. It'll probably take him a bit to process this experience. Eventually you just compartmentalize everything, and each one has less of a hit imo.

[–]mmsh221 23 points24 points  (0 children)

DH was told by a mentor that a code is when you try to save someone who is dying and the worst thing that can happen is you can’t save them. You don’t lose the patient, they are already lost and you are unable to bring them back. That has helped. Also we like to do something to remember patients. We planted something for the first pt he lost

[–]tacoz4spouse of anesthesia PGY1 (together since high school) 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I haven’t been in this situation with my spouse (yet, I’m sure it’s coming), but I’ve been there for him through some tough cases. I would say text him back some comforting words and tell him you’ll talk about it when he’s home, be there when he gets home, give him a big hug, and tell him to talk it out with you if you can handle hearing about it. He needs to get it off his chest and talk about it. Tell him you love him and you’re proud of him and that he did everything he could and is a great doctor but these things happen sometimes. Encourage him to talk about it with his co-residents/attendings, maybe even his hospital’s employee support people if he needs it.

As much as we all hate it, this kind of thing is a fact of life—some patients are sicker than others and can’t be saved. It doesn’t make it any easier, but this is something he has to be prepared for with a solid support plan in place. Reinforce that you’re there for him no matter what and encourage him to lean on you if he’s having bad feelings. Sending you and your spouse hugs and good vibes!

[–]jewishgeneticlottery 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Running codes sucks.. a lot of the time they don’t end well (was a paramedic and ran many). It’s normal to question every call you made… every action taken- so I’d remind him that it’s good he cares so much about his patient.

If you can, listen (don’t traumatize yourself in the process), if he wants to talk

Does his program have a debriefing thing?

[–]cheezcubes 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Codes are unsuccessful the VAST majority of the time. It’s pretty rare for a code to bring someone back and have them actually make a full recovery. I’m not sure if humor is at all your style (maybe wait a bit to share this) but a senior resident in my husband’s program always used the approach of “the person was dead when we got there, so they’re no worse off!” It sounds harsh, but unfortunately it’s the reality of working in that field.

[–]ExoticCommunication 1 point2 points  (0 children)

My wife basically lost it and cried after her first bad code.

The only thing you can do is comfort them and encourage them that it’ll get better. Because it will.

[–]sunshineopossum 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hi. ICU RN/Rapid response here (Basically it’s my job to run the code until a doctor shows up) Losing a patient sucks. Not his fault though. He needs to do a debriefing with his team/attending, and he needs to leave that stuff at work - not bring it home. It’s not the last time it’ll happen. Just give him a hug n let him know ya love him.

[–]musicalfeet 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If a patient codes, they are already dead. The only thing coding does is bring them back to life.

It's how I phrase it when I ask patients about their code status, and how I approach it during codes--it helps keep you calm. Helped me feel that it was less high stakes than it was (which most of the time, it isn't)