Mother was livid. She examined her baby head to toe every day and knew that something had happened to the ear. Mom used colorful language and threatened bad things if anything else happened to her child. It didn't help that no one would fess up to doing it, so we don't know exactly what happened. It also didn't help that my partner on duty at the time, when called to see the baby, heard the mother complaining and took 45 minutes to actually go into the room and evaluate the cut. My partner then made matters worse by minimizing the whole thing, telling the mother it was really nothing and unimportant. Eventually, one of the baby's primary nurses and the nurse manager talked mom down.
There was a time earlier in my career when I would have been a little ticked at mom for that kind of a reaction. We deal with some pretty tough stuff sometimes in the NICU. Accidents will happen, and in the big picture we have done a whole lot more good for her 24 weeker than harm. But now I see it a little differently. For one thing, I know that when it's your own kid nothing, especially in a hospital, is unimportant. Also, I know that mom was probably mad not just about the cut, but about everything. She was mad because her baby was extremely premature and had been on a ventilator the past seven weeks; she was mad because her baby couldn't be at home and it was a pain trying to visit her while she also cared for her two toddlers; and she was probably mad because dad was in jail and although she was doing her best to keep him informed and the family together, it just wasn't easy to do so.
Life can be rough. I'll keep working on her baby's ventilator thing, but I don't know any cure for those other problems.