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Guest blog post: Hey Everyone, I Almost Died … Again by Nick Dupree

Nick Dupree is a blogger and artist who happens to love bunnies (we love bunnies too at the DVP). From his website:

I’m Nick, a 32 year-old disability rights and Medicaid reform activist, who has been advocating for ending the institutional bias and other long-term care reforms for years. I fight especially hard for awareness and action on issues that affect those of us who, like me, have complex care needs and are vent-dependent. We are a vulnerable population that spans multiple diagnoses and every age group, and, in order to stay in our homes and communities, we need change in long-term care.

As someone who lived in an institution called Coler-Goldwater because of his disability-related needs, Nick recently posted a collection of stories about his past experience. FYI, Nick now lives in the community.

Here is an excerpt from a blog post originally written on October 15, 2008:

Hey Everyone, I Almost Died … Again

Wow. Last Thursday was my first CODE BLUE since February 1992.

Human error + clogged lung = over 10 min hypoxic and unconscious. And it led to a not-so-happy jaunt to Bellevue ER which was ultimately pointless aside from the observations gleaned, and my first sight of the Empire State Building from the back of the ambulance.

What triggered all this? My airway became totally occluded by mucous. Suctioning didn’t fix it. The vent was unable to get air to me. At home, we know to BAG BAG BAG if the vent’s normal operations are being blocked. I TYPED AMBU. The nurse said “ambu?”
then, DIDN’T AMBU!

Shortly after that, everything went black. Then I felt oddly disconnected from corporealNick; not like sleep–this was a near death experience. Then a split second later, I open my eyes, and the RT with the big Goliath beard is bagging me. As soon as someone AMBUed and oxygen started reaching my brain again, I woke up. It felt like a split second later, but the clock was indicating 10+ min later!

It was around 4:15am. Mohammad is bagging me, Tony the RT is also there, the on-call doctor is there, the nurse is there and also several people I’ve never met are there. I realize a code blue had been called (your patient is blue? CODE BLUE!!) though they canceled it once they realized my pulse had never stopped and I was pretty easy to revive (just bag me, dammit!)

Tony dumps a bullet of albuterol solution direct to my trach. The young on-call doctor is calling an ambulance and calling the number on the “next of kin” form (my mom) and telling her it could be a pulmonary embolism or heart attack or stroke. He didn’t think someone could be that blue, and that unconscious for so long, from just a mucous plug, and wanted people in acute care to rule out serious problems, so off I went to the ER at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. The ambulance left Roosevelt Island and all types of tall buildings, complete and incomplete, blurred past.

For the entire blog post:


To read the entire collection from his time at Coler-Goldwater:

For more about Nick Dupree:


Twitter: @NickDupree

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