Have you ever?

Have you ever driven even 1 mph over the speed limit while your children were in the car?

Have you ever walked at a normal pace past a “Caution–wet floor” sign?

Have you ever walked in the water at a beach, even though the warning sign says “No swimming?”

I have done all of these, and thankfully, nothing bad has happened. But something could have gone wrong. I could have caused a wreck that killed my child. I could have slipped on that wet floor and broken my neck.  I could have even contracted some weird disease from the dirty water at the beach.

So who am I to judge someone who isn’t as fortunate as me? If a mom is speeding on her way to her child’s day care and she causes a wreck– should my first comment upon meeting her in the trauma room be, “Didn’t you see the speed limit sign?” Should I refuse to treat the child with a broken arm from slipping on the wet floor? I mean, there WAS a sign warning them, right?

As nurses, we can’t judge our patients for how they were hurt. And as humans, we shouldn’t do this either. People make mistakes. We ignore warning signs because we don’t think about the worst case scenario every time we see the word “caution.” Imagine what life would be like if we DID freak out about everything:

Me: “Mike, do you want some Sprite?” (Holds up 2 liter of Sprite)

Mike: (Dives to the floor)-  “Watch out! The bottle says the contents are under                            pressure and the cap may blow off. What the hell are you doing holding that thing?”

Ridiculous example, I know. But I bet if I did somehow accidentally kill my husband with a pressurized bottle of Sprite, half the people commenting on the news article about his death would say, “Didn’t she see the warning on the bottle?”

We need to stop criticizing one another and start finding ways to help. Our reactions — whether in an online comment section after reading a news article or to our patient’s face after she trusts you with the truth — matter.

So the next time you read a news story, especially if it’s regarding the death of a child, please stop and think before you leave a comment blaming the parents. You’ve probably done something today that could have had a tragic result as well. You just got lucky.