Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Overdose

We didn't sleep much that night. Shane finally went back down to spend some time with Calvin after I took Trisha down to see him. I tried to rest but couldn't, my mind too busy with worry over my four day old son. Dr. C finally left around eleven or twelve o'clock the day after Calvin was first brought in for surgery, finally going to get some rest after spending more than twenty four hours at Calvin's side. Shane bid him good rest and Dr. C told us he would be in touch after he'd had some sleep.

It was sometime that afternoon, Calvin still bleeding copious amounts that two things happened. A decision was made to lower the dose of heparin in the ECMO machine to try and control some of Calvin's bleeding and our son suffered not one, but two massive overdoses of antibiotics. About two o'clock that afternoon, Shane came upstairs with a grim look on his face. "I have something to tell you and please don't freak out, " he said. He then proceeded to tell me that the pediatrician on call in the ICU, who had been on duty for thirty-six hours straight, in his fatigue had accidentally overdosed Calvin not once, but twice on massive amounts of antibiotics. The doctor, after realizing his mistake, tearfully approached my husband and told him what had happened and that Calvin would need to be put on dialysis to clean the drug out of his system. We were now risking organ damage due to the overdose of drugs he had been given. It was a tense eight hours. Calvin was placed on dialysis and amazingly enough his own body had already started the process of getting rid of the drugs. He responded very well and within eight hours was out of danger. I, on the other hand was furious. I kept thinking, How? How could this happen to our boy when he's already facing so much? How could they let a doctor stay on duty for that many hours straight? Why Calvin? I was so sad for our son, for all he had been through already in his short life.

Dr. C came back to the ICU later that evening, upset by what had happened to our son while he had been gone. He checked Calvin's output and miraculously, Calvin's bleeding had slowed down. He had been through fourteen units of blood by this point, enough to entirely replace all of his own blood almost four times over. For all that our son had been through, the slowing of the bleeding was encouraging and Dr. C was optimistic. It was good news. I felt relieved for the first time since Calvin's surgery and I dared hope that things would be okay. Shane and I kept going down to check on and off throughout the night, only to be told that Calvin was holding his own, that our son was improving. We were so relieved.


  1. Staying tuned, Margaret....


  2. Wow, Margaret. I would have been furious too. Thank you for sharing your Calvin's story.

  3. I fail to understand that if I as a teacher cannot work more than 6-7 hours straight, how do they expect doctor's, who actually can take life, to function on no sleep. This is one thing that bothers me a lot. Hugsssssssss

  4. I can't believe that happened. Please tell me you took action, i'm not sure what but I would hate for that to happen to someone else. I hate to think that it could have been fatal for Calvin. Other babies may not be so lucky. This makes me so sad. :(