From my nursing days – a reason why I hate people who smoke around children
Eight year old girls don’t look like they are sleeping when they are dead. At least not after over an hour of trying to save her life from an ultimately fatal asthma attack.
We were all distressed, she had been gasping for breath when the ambulance crew had ‘blued’ her straight into resus. Asthma nebulisers hadn’t worked, and all you could fixate on was her chest desperately trying to pull air into her lungs.
So she died, a frightening and painful death.
The doctor and I went to tell her parents. They were in the relatives room, I could barely see them as I walked in, the clouds of smoke filled the air.
They cried, of course they cried.
Then they went outside and have a cigarette.
Then they came back inside the resus room and sat with her body.
The father lit up another cigarette.
This is why I hate asthma, this is why I hate people who smoke when they are pregnant, this is why I hate people who smoke around children. Kill yourself if you want to, but don’t kill your kids.
This is why I hate people who smoke around their asthmatic children or, if I mention that smoking aggravates asthma, they send them in their nightclothes to stand in sub-zero temperatures.
There are jobs that haunt you. This was one of them. Try calming down an eight year old girl who is dying in front of you because they can’t breathe. Then try and forget about it. I did a cot death once, beside the cot was a full ashtray. Sure the parents are punished by the death of their child. But it doesn’t help the child…
As I typed this I realised that I was clenching my teeth.