Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Meeting

This past Friday at 3 Roger and I met with the surgeons to review the findings of the autopsy report. It was an excruciating 2 hours that we were hoping would bring some sort of closure for us. That didn't happen.

Basically, all they have are theories. Unfortunately, there was no clear cut reason that was found as to why Travis arrested. Everything seemed to be going so well. The surgeon spoke and told us that during rounds that morning (the morning he arrested) Travis was on course for extubation and everything looked good. After rounds, he went to surgery and that afternoon he was pulled out of surgery and notified that Travis was coding. After discussing everything and reviewing the reports, there is speculation that the timing of the extubation was unfavorable. The previous day during Travis' 10 hour surgery he was having trouble oxygenating and usually they wait a bit longer to remove the breathing tube in such cases.

We discussed several unsettling concerns we had with his care and what went on that day. He addressed them honestly and sincerely. He was taking notes on specific things that we brought up and we can only hope that some good will come of our comments/concerns. Dr. Lamberti looked visibly upset during this meeting and he just kept telling us that the hard part is that they make life and death decisions every day. He said that most of the time, their "calls" are good....sometimes, there are judgement calls that don't pan out. The decision to extubate that day was a dicey one. He is still quite angry about this whole thing and he again said that if this happened more often he wouldn't be in this field. He said that everyone involved with Travis' care that day would like to take it back. All I could do when I heard that was hang my head and cry. We ALL wish we could take that day back.

It is soooo painful to know that human error could have caused Travis' death. Our initial reaction was one of anger. Honestly though...I feel in my heart that everyone was making the best decisions that they could at that time. The part that is so troublesome is that I don't think that ICU docs (who make the calls on meds/extubating/etc.) had the big picture that day. Lamberti did...and he was in surgery.

One interesting thing that Lamberti said was that of all the families he has dealt with (some 7000) and especially parents like us who are uber involved....he said that we handled the events of that day with a lot of grace. He recalled my conversation with him about organ donation and my dad being an organ recipient. He mentioned that he was just taken aback at how well we handled such a horrible situation. We tried to adequately thank him but just ended up hugging him and fumbling for words. We still and will always have the upmost respect for Dr. Lamberti...he gave our son life and, as I've said before, gave us 16 wonderful months with our sweet boy.

We don't feel like we should share everything from that meeting but just know that the bottom line is that Travis' death seems to have been from a combination of bad judgement calls that day. How are we to find any closure in that? I think we are feeling worse now then before. We are left with MORE what if's and a lot of guilt.


  1. I am so sorry for the painful information that your received on Friday. Though it probably does not seem so now, perhaps one day knowing what happened will give you some sense of closure. It sounds like your surgeon cared deeply for your son and his care. I, too, think you should be commended for considering organ donation in the midst of your tragedy.

  2. Nothing we can say will make it better or bring Travis back, but you know that we love you and are praying for you! Mark & Carol

  3. My dear friend, I asked God to remove all of those "what if's" from your mind and comfort you in the way that only He can. You will see your sweet boy again. I know it feels an eternity away, but for Travis it will feel like you were never apart. I believe that with all my heart. Until that day comes I vow to never stop lifting you, Roger, and your families up in prayer.

  4. No parent should ever have to go through this kind of a meeting. Reading my son's autopsy report still haunts me, even though I am the type that needs to know everything. It is like pouring caustic acid into an open, festering wound, really there are no words to describe it. I can only hope for some peace for you eventually. In my case, dwelling on the what ifs is just going to make me ill. One can only hope that lessons can be learned from this.

  5. Dear Nicole, Roger and family...

    I'm soo overwhelmed with this news that it just breaks my heart into pieces.. Crying over my keyboard as I type, I know that for you all, it's a million times worse.. There are no comforting words I can say to give you comfort here, I know this is probably the worst thing you can expect to hear- It's when I find that life is painful and unfair..
    Knowing my mom's cancer treatment and ordeal might have been handled differently and she would still be here now, is something that's always in my mind- so many things the doctors didn't do right- but it cost my beloved angel mom her own precious life- no one knows, and doctors are only human... though we look to them to make all the right decisions to keep our loved ones safe.
    I'm sooo sooo very sorry for you and your family- what you are all going through and how much you miss Travis- that it's so painful. I feel that.. I pray for some comfort for you all because I know when my mom passed away, I had no comfort and that it took me about 3 years to get past severe depression. I had to count on my good friends to see me through, because I didn't want to live anymore without my mom... it was very hard and though it still is, it's a little less painful than before, though the missing her part is always there...
    God bless you all..

  6. Nicole, I am so sorry that the meeting did not give you any kind of closure. I think with what we are going through we look for any kind of relief from the pain. Unfortunately, maybe there isn't any. Please know that I am here if you need to talk. Unfortunately we are in the same situation. Sending prayers and strength to you and your family.

  7. I am so sorry to hear this. Also ANGRY, Taking into account that hlhs comes with a lot of uncertainty if it was medically known he might need extra time intubated then WHY, WHY did they not tske every precaution. There is no room for miscommunication or incompetance in this field. Not to mention his care after the fact...Really.... 2 hrs to get him on ecmo... Again ANGRY... But I know sweet Travis is in our loving saviors arms and you will be with him again and will be whole again. I pray you can find some peace in that fact. Prayers to lift you and your families up.

  8. I feel more angry than before, I feel fear for all those kids in Children's hospital. I'm really sorry for all , I'm crying because I feel so angry and sad I hope that some day you will be with your little boy again . He was awesome a true warrior , I truly believe that everything happens for a reason maybe he didn't deserve all that pain , all that suffering for the HLHS. I hope that both of you find some peace one day.
    Good bless u guys , Nicole you are a true inspiration