I was called to a 39 year old male, possibly dead. As I entered the house I saw his relatives crying, and sitting on a kitchen chair was my patient. He looked dead, and wasn't breathing.
I felt for a pulse, didn't feel one – so I hooked up the heart monitor and there was no electrical activity at all.
I turned around to his relatives and told them that there was nothing that I could do for him, and that an ambulance crew would turn up shortly to help them out.
It took ten minutes for the crew to turn up, and I didn't recognise them at all, they must have come from outside our area.
Suddenly one of the crew said they had felt a pulse!
He was also breathing. Oxygen was given and he was rushed out to the ambulance – all that was running through my head was how I had 'starved' him of oxygen, and how much trouble I was going to be in.
One of the crew told me to fake my paperwork, and say that I'd given the patient oxygen. But I knew I was going to get into trouble.
I felt sick for the patient, and sick for myself – this is the sort of mistake that can cost you your job.
Then the postman rang my doorbell, and I woke up from the nightmare I was having.
It's funny how this job can play on your mind, the things that I've seen, and dealt with on this job and as an A&E nurse. Yet it seems that the fear of making a mistake with a patient is still the thing that scares me most.
I've dealt with murders, mutilations and miscarriages. I've seen death in the faces of 3 month old children, 14 year old girls and 22 year old men. I've dealt with limbs hanging off, distraught relatives and people vomiting blood until they die.
But the only thing that haunts my dreams is the fear of doing something wrong.
Shouldn't the patient have more of a place in my mind?