The need for a pulse-ox device becomes extreme in the hospital when a patient who had been stable suddenly gasps for breath and begins to turn blue. A pulse-ox is a small piece of equipment that clamps onto a patient's finger and registers her oxygen level. Some cost a couple hundred dollars, but the cheapest retail for around $20. When I worked at a teaching hospital in the UPMC system in Pittsburgh, my hospital floor usually had two or three of these devices, and though we nurses begged for more, we were always told the money wasn't "there" in the budget, despite our hospital system's obvious wealth (operating revenues of $14 billion in the first nine months of 2018).
Talking about abortion in terms of ethical decision making may be troubling to abortion foes, but besides being a mother, I'm also a nurse who cares for patients at the end of their lives. For me, looking at arguments about abortion in the context of how best to care for dying patients can clarify the complexity of the ethical issues in abortion.
Theresa Brown: Many view Obamacare as a government intrusion into individual lives -- but they are mistaken
Back in the day, nurses will tell you, if a doctor came into a room and no chair was available for him, a nurse would have to give up her seat. Those days are long gone, but for a long time, nurses didn't have a guaranteed seat at the health care policy table—until now.
My patient one day, a spry 80-year-old, started to cough and feel short of breath during a blood transfusion: classic signs of a transfusion reaction. I stopped her IV, but she needed a steroid to bring her breathing back to normal.
The patient, in his late 70s, had survived prostate cancer and had a new diagnosis of leukemia. A few days before, he'd been healthy and fine, but now his white blood cell count was so high that it was clogging his circulatory system, making it hard for him to breathe.