Overnight call for the medicine wards and ICU was quiet until a 5:30 phone call. Obonyo, the first year intern, notified me of a full term emergency C-section little boy coming to the ICU. The baby was born blue, with no pulse or respirations. After 5 minutes of CPR, intubation, epinephrine and glucose the baby regained a strong pulse. However he had little respiratory drive and we were bagging him on the way to the ICU. I had no experience with the ancient German ventilators in the ICU. So I just kept bagging the baby and called the doctor on call for Peds. He didn’t have much luck with the ventilators either but he told me that babies here cannot be ventilated for any length of time. They need to breath…or they die. By now I had been bagging the baby for about an hour and he was looking better all the time. He started out dark blue, with just a few retractions, but by now he was looking pink and was starting to breath on his own. We took him to the neonatal unit, took out his breathing tube, gave him a mask with oxygen and I went home hoping he would survive the day.
Today John, Sandra and I stopped in to see how he was doing. The nurse pointed to a vigorous crying baby who looked nothing like the baby I saw yesterday. She had to show me the chart so I could believe it was the same little person. He wasn’t even on oxygen and he looked like he was rooting for a good meal.
Sometimes stories turn out better than imagined.