Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tragedy in baby world

I need to write this story while it's heavy in my heart.  It won't be fun to read, but i need to write it.

Her fragile, tiny body was pulled from an over-turned vehicle.  She's five; brave, bright, and sweet.  The medics bring her into the emergency department on a stretcher with her spine in a c-collar.  Her eyes are wide and she cooperates with the medics, the nurses, and the doctors as they lay her on the ER bed.  She even offers a smile when we tell her how brave she is.  The examination proves to be unremarkable except for the laceration on her forehead.

I am asked to sit with her while they go work on her four year old sister.  The four year old little girl has not faired so well.  When the car rolled, the little girl was thrown out and the car landed on her.  In the next room, there are swarms of doctors, surgeons, nurses, respiratory therapists working hard to save this little girl's life.  Mom and grandma are in and out frantic and screaming.  It's chaos.  They work for an hour pumping the little girls chest and pushing fluids into her veins to replace the blood loss.  They aren't able to get a heart beat.

As I sit in the next room with the precious five year old, we talk about her favorite cartoons and starting kindergarten.  She smiles and chats, but as she hears her moms screams and cries from the next room, she begins to talk about her sister and the accident.  "My mom was driving too fast and then there was an accident.  The car rolled on my sister and she died.  She was my only sister and I miss her."  My heart broke into a million pieces, but I couldn't leave her.  I had to be there for her, so I sat there and listened and held her hand as I fought back my tears.  When they called time of death for her sister and she heard her momma's painful cry, she looked at me and asked me if she was going to get another sister.  Then she worried that the police were gonna take away her mom.  "I think they've got her and they're taking her away" she says.  I tell her that her momma is just sad and she's not being taken away.

She gets some visits from paramedics and some doctors coming in and out of her room.  Even in the midst of tragedy, the little girl still manages to laugh and smile as we all talk to her.  As though this wasn't enough of a tragedy, the little one tells us that her and her sister were in their car seats but were not strapped in.  This could have all been prevented with a few extra moments of caution.  My heart breaks for what her and her family will be going through for a long time, the guilt they're going to be feeling, and the blame they will be placing.

I wish this was a story of fiction, but unfortunately it's what I took part in today and what I see way too much of.  Over ninety percent of children's accidental deaths can be prevented.  We just need to take some time and make sure all safety measures are taken.  I learned some awful details of this accident.  The babies' mom was driving and arguing with her mom, who was also in the front seat.  She was speeding, arguing, lost control, and flipped the car.  I know she didn't set out for this to happen, but life is taken for granted way too often.  I don't want to have to live through another day like today, but I would have loved for that four year old to have lived through it.


  1. An ounce of prevention. Horrible way to learn a lesson. This really touches me.

  2. i hate senselss death...esp of a kid...heartbreaking...mines a not too fun one tonight too...

  3. oh, caty...what a terrible tragedy. i'm so glad that you were there with that little five year old, being her 'calm in the midst of the storm' who listened, cried, and cared...i have a feeling that she will always remember you.

  4. This is super sad. I'm glad you were brave. I miss you girlie.

  5. wow,
    how sad...
    u r right to be there, feel the emptiness of loss of a young life..

    beautiful post, your have a heart of gold.

  6. Wow, this post will stick with me for a LONG time. I'm sure it will stick with you forever. Thank you for sharing it. It's an important reminder for all of us with children.

    It's also an important reminder of the resilience of children and the burden of nurses. Thank you for all you do.


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