When I left for work, nothing was wrong. When I got home, nothing was right. I realise how crazy this sounds, but it's true. I work at a hospital about an hour outside Brisbane CBD. It's a relatively big hospital, and I love my job.
When I arrive at work, on my desk is a note from my boss, saying to call him ASAP. So I do. When he picks up, I can hear the panic in his voice.
"Cassidy. Thank you! I need you to come up here. One of the head paediatricians has to leave for the month, and you are the next most capable person."
I reply and end the call. Quickly I gather my things, and make my way to my new office. I set myself up and look around to see what I need to do. Before I have a chance to look at the list I find, one of the nurses walks in.
"Hi Amalia. What's wrong?"
"We have a new patient in one of the wards. She's arrived with her mother about 20 minutes ago, and has been throwing up since she arrived. We've given her some fluids but she's looking quite unwell"
"Thanks. I'll be there shortly. Can you please give me her chart?"
The nurse leaves, and minutes later my printer starts to whirl. I take the sheet and read over it. I read that she is 10 years old, and her name is Tilly Cunningham. I walk to her room, and as I enter her mother weakly smiles at me.
"Hi. You must be Mrs Cunningham?" I say as I enter the space.
"Yes. That's me. Alice Cunningham. Just call me Alice"
"I'd like to look over Tilly, run a couple tests if that's ok?"
The mother nods. I leave the room and return with a trolley.
I bring the trolley around, and drag a stool to sit beside Tilly. I talk softly to her as I take her blood pressure, check her temperature, all things that have already been done, but I like to do them anyway. As I'm doing this I speak to her mother.
"How long has she been feeling like this?"
"I honestly don't know." Mrs Cunningham says. "She's been saying for a few days that she hasn't felt well, and we've kept her home from school for a week."
"When did she start vomiting?"
"Last night at about 10:00 pm. I've noticed that it's gotten much worse recently"
The poor thing throws up multiple times, her mother apologising over and over again. I look at her chart, and see that she is being given a drug that should slow the vomiting. It should have been working by now and it's strange that it isn't. I retrieve another medication and feed it in to the IV. Immediately, Tilly starts seizing, shaking and foaming at the mouth. An alarm goes off, and nurses arrive. The mother is ushered out of the room. I look at her heart rate monitor and see that it's flatlining. I get the AED and place it on her.
The machine administers an electric shock, and Tilly's heart starts up again.
I leave Tilly in the nurses capable hands, and then return to my office.