IT WAS A BRIGHT fall morning and “Hazel,” 78, had been with us for just over a week. Her sweet disposition and quiet resolve to recover from her admitting diagnosis of left lower lobe pneumonia made her a unit favorite. During my morning assessment, I auscultated only mild inspiratory wheezes in her left lower lobe. She needed only supplemental oxygen at 1 L/min via nasal cannula at this point, and her SpO2 was stable at 95%. Her white blood cell count was back in the normal range, confirming the clinical observation that Hazel was getting better. Feeling confident in Hazel's recovery, the nurses joked about how we were going to miss our favorite patient when she was discharged to home later today.
What happened next made me appreciate the value of teamwork in a crisis.