The flu, this year, is Bad. I have had my first patient die from it.
It’s not just suffocation from respiratory failure, as the lungs fill with fluid such as the chest X ray above. It’s the multiple organ failure that gets you too. I added the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pressor. Nothing helped. I watched as the ventilator tubing filled with blood pouring from her lungs. Tried steroids. Tried statins. Tried anti-parasiticals. Nothing worked.
The night shift attending struggled to keep up the blood pressure and oxygen levels. I headed straight for that room as soon as I arrived in the wee hours of the ICU morning. I remember clearly the art line reading of 15/7, the heart rate of 12.
There is a certain look that comes over people when you tell them their loved one is about to die, and no power on this Earth can save them. You can watch the quick play of the initial shock, then the denial; grief, if it comes, is sharp and overwhelming.
The patient’s spouse of nearly 50 years took it about as well as can be expected. We watched him say his tearful goodbye; the nurses that struggled and fought during the night wept from ragged, bloodshot eyes as well. Another life lost. Another bitter ending.
You DO NOT want a piece of this. Get your @#$%ing flu shot.