Nursing errors and the unmonitored use of patient-controlled analgesia led to the unexpected death of a mother’s only child. It could have been prevented.
On Saturday, the 5th of November, 2011, my life fell apart when my only son Tyler left this world. Nursing errors led to his unexpected death.
One week before, on the morning of the October 28, I received a phone call that no mother ever wants to receive. I was asked to go immediately to the hospital. And when I arrived, I was told that Tyler was found unresponsive and had suffered two cardiac arrests. I never got to speak to Tyler again.
Those days will forever be etched in my memory. While my heart will always ache from the loss of Tyler, I am telling his story in the hope that it will help prevent similar tragedies and that no parent will have to endure the pain of losing their child to nursing errors and unmonitored use of patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps.
It started with a collapsed lung
In October 2011, Tyler’s lung collapsed for the second time that year. A collapsed lung occurs when air or gas leaks into the pleural space that separates the lung from the chest wall, and which may interfere with normal breathing.
The first time it happened, he was hospitalized, had a drain inserted, and that fixed the problem. The doctors, who performed this procedure, said that as Tyler was tall, young, slim, and male, it could happen again as his body type can be prone to this condition.
Unfortunately, it did happen again. However, this time, Tyler was not in as much pain and knew the signs of a collapsed lung. A visit to the local emergency department confirmed that he indeed had suffered another lung collapse.
After an overnight stay, the doctors said that Tyler would probably again suffer from this condition. So, they advised a procedure to prevent this from continually happening. This procedure, called pleurodesis, is a common procedure that permanently obliterates the pleural space and attaches the lung to the chest wall, thus preventing reoccurrence of a lung collapsing.