A patient with post-traumatic stress disorder has been brought into the emergency department after attempting suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. The nurse assesses the patient and finds that he is short of breath, with a respiratory rate of 30/min, HR 98 bpm, and a blood pressure 110/80 mmHg. The patient is irritable and withdrawn and his wife is at his side. Which intervention is the highest priority in this situation?

 

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Correct

- Administer oxygen and connect the patient to a hemodynamic monitor

- Ask the patient why he tried to end his life

- Help the patients spouse by making her comfortable and providing support

- Contact the physician for a prescription for antidepressants

Rationale

Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause alterations in oxygenation in the body, as excess carbon monoxide affects the body's ability to carry oxygen to the tissues. In the situation described, the nurse must first assess and care for the patients airway, breathing, and circulation. The patient is short of breath because of the carbon monoxide, so the nurse should first administer oxygen.

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