Catherine (Cat) was assigned to the care of a patient on 2 North. He was admitted with a normal platelet count and complained of cough and weakness. The patient's platelet count dropped over the course of a few days and the patient developed a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Through Catherine's physical assessment of the patient and the extensive review of the patient's lab work, she determined that the patient had a rare condition of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). She contacted the patient's physician and shared her findings and he concurred with her assessment and implemented the appropriate treatment.
Another patient that Catherine was assigned to, had a complaint of chest pain. She received orders for an ECG. The ECG interpretation indicated Sinus Bradycardia; ST&T wave abnormality; possible inferior ischemia; abnormal ECG. Catherine recognized that the patient was, in fact, in the process of having an Anterolateral infarct with T-Wave abnormality. She notified the CRNP and Physician and the patient was transferred to Huntsville Hospital Cardiac Catheterization Lab without incident.
Catherine's thorough assessment and critical thinking skills made the difference in the lives of these patients; most likely saving their lives.