In a concerning medical emergency, Liza’s mother sought help at a community hospital’s emergency department. She revealed a harrowing admission—she had consumed a significant number of aspirin tablets (salicylates) over the past 24 hours in an attempt to alleviate a severe headache. Additionally, the distressed mother complained of an inability to urinate, raising further concerns. The vigilant nurse on duty conducted an assessment, recording vital signs that included a temperature of 97.8°F, an apical pulse of 95, and respiration at 32 breaths per minute, characterized as deep. In this critical scenario, understanding the potential primary acid-base imbalance that the client may be at risk of, if medical attention is not provided promptly, becomes paramount.
Liza’s Mother’s Health Crisis: Initial Presentation
The emergency department admission of Liza’s mother was fueled by a series of alarming factors. The foremost concern was her excessive consumption of aspirin tablets (salicylates) within a 24-hour period in an attempt to alleviate a severe headache. Aspirin overdose can have severe consequences on various physiological processes within the body, making it a medical emergency.
Compounding Symptoms: Inability to Urinate
Adding to the complexity of the situation, Liza’s mother reported an inability to urinate. This symptom is particularly concerning as it may indicate compromised renal function or urinary tract obstruction, potentially linked to the aspirin overdose or other underlying factors.
Vital Signs Assessment: Key Indicators
The nurse on duty promptly conducted a vital signs assessment to gain insights into Liza’s mother’s overall condition:
- Temperature (Temp) = 97.8°F: The temperature reading is within the normal range and does not immediately suggest hyperthermia or fever.
- Apical Pulse = 95: The apical pulse rate is slightly elevated but not excessively so.
- Respiration = 32 (Deep): Respiratory rate is notably high and characterized as deep, indicating a potential respiratory issue.
Assessing Acid-Base Imbalance Risk: Respiratory Alkalosis
In the absence of specific arterial blood gas (ABG) results, it is essential to consider the potential acid-base imbalances that Liza’s mother may be at risk for based on her clinical presentation.
Given her elevated respiratory rate (tachypnea) and deep respirations, there is a likelihood that Liza’s mother is at risk for respiratory alkalosis. Respiratory alkalosis occurs when there is excessive elimination of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the body, leading to an increase in blood pH.
Conclusion and Urgency of Medical Care
Liza’s mother’s health crisis, triggered by aspirin overdose and an inability to urinate, is a matter of grave concern. The risk of respiratory alkalosis adds another layer of complexity to her condition, necessitating immediate medical attention.
Healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, and toxicology experts, will play a pivotal role in assessing and addressing the effects of aspirin overdose, managing any potential urinary tract issues, and restoring acid-base balance. Timely and comprehensive care is crucial to ensure the well-being and recovery of Liza’s mother and to mitigate potential complications associated with salicylate toxicity.//