Hospital Emergency Department Crisis Debrief

Start Date: 2021-07-29

Description: The hospital emergency department had a traumatic walk-in case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The attending staff was unable to save the baby and continued, over the past week, to blame themselves for failing, even though they did everything as trained. Today that attending staff met with the hospital chief medical officer and ED director and their external behavioral health counseling service. I was called because Brinkley and I have visited this hospital every week for over nine years for our therapy dog group Bright Spot Therapy Dogs; and we have attended several other of their ED crisis counseling sessions in the past. The behavioral health consultant who led the meeting was much improved over their predecessor—she did not insist that everyone around the table report on what they saw, did, heard, felt. Rather she discussed care of the caregiver, secondary trauma, behavioral health as just another medical condition, etc. She made no demands and just offered the time for anyone to talk about anything. They did, in depth, emotionally, openly. It appears to have been a very useful meeting for all involved. The attending staff entered very tense and very emotional and left asking what Brinkley used for shampoo. : )

Agency: Baystate Health
Teams: None