ER: A Family's Emotional Well Being

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    ER nursing requires critical thinking at all times. We must step back and make sure that part of that process involves a family's emotional well being. It could be the last time they ever see each other.

    ER: A Family's Emotional Well Being

    Quote from Jackson County EMS to GWER
    We are inbound to your facility with two patients involved in a MVC with multiple injuries...
    The nurses took report on both patients and prepared the trauma bays for a couple in their 80's who had been T-boned when the husband pulled into an intersection. No current life threatening emergencies were reported. Each patient was assessed and stabilized. A recurring theme was each spouse asking about the other spouse.

    After the hustle and bustled settled down we reassured each patient that their spouse was fine. We opened the curtain separating their rooms and informed them that they were right beside each other and they could talk to one another. They could not see one another because they were secured to backboards and unable to turn their heads to the side but they could hear one another. The wife wanted me to know her husband had a blood pressure problem……oh dear she couldn't remember the name of the medicine he was on. The husband told me how they had been married for 60 years and I could see the sparkle of love in his eyes.

    As time went on and test results returned it was decided that the wife had an injury that required her to be shipped to a Level 1 trauma center. The doctor informed the couple of the care decisions he felt were necessary. I began to see fear and worry in the husband's eyes. That is when I jumped into gear of getting the portable heart monitor. I connected the husband to the monitor and moved his IV pole and bed right beside his wife's bed. I put his left bed rail down and her right bed rail down. I told them that if they just reached out they would be able to feel each other's hands. They reached out and found each other's hands and held on tight.

    They talked and reassured each other it would all be okay. They told each other they loved them. The husband told her as soon as he could find someone to drive him to the other hospital he would be there. The doctor told the wife it would be best if her husband stayed all night for just one night to be observed and make sure he was okay. The husband didn't want to but the wife encouraged him that he could see her tomorrow.

    The helicopter crew came and the beds had to be separated after a final hand squeeze and I love you. The Mrs. was loaded and transported to the other hospital while the husband was admitted for overnight observation.

    The next day I came to work I found out the wife had died that night from her injuries. I was heartbroken for this lovely couple. As I reflected, I was so thankful that I had taken the time to connect the portable equipment and rearrange the beds and allow them to hold hands.

    Many times we are too rushed in the ER to make time for the important things in life. And what was more important at this point in time? To hold hands for the very last time...
    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 20
    dorkypanda, Ruas61, Lev <3, and 62 others like this.

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    About AMS7958

    I have been nurse for 27 years and worked in a variety of settings.

    Joined Apr '12; Posts: 6; Likes: 68.

    Read more articles from AMS7958

    21 Comments so far...

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    Tragic story, but with a vital and heartwarming message. Thank you for sharing and reminding us of those small, yet huge, differences that we can make.
    1feistymama, finn55, jalyc RN, and 3 others like this.
  4. 7
    We should never lose sight of the things that we can do for our patients.
    truly touching story.
    1feistymama, finn55, jalyc RN, and 4 others like this.
  5. 6
    Tragic story, but good reminder....
    1feistymama, finn55, jalyc RN, and 3 others like this.
  6. 14
    That dear gentleman will never forget the nurse who did that for him. God bless you.
    Ruas61, 1feistymama, SHGR, and 11 others like this.
  7. 15
    Oh good lord, my heart!

    This is what it's all about: Competency, problem solving, and heart.

    Somewhere in this world there needs to be a poster of you with the slogan beneath it: Nursing--you're doing it right.

    Just....damn, my friend, yes to everything you do.

    Last edit by CheesePotato on Feb 10 : Reason: Overdose of FEELS.
  8. 8
    So powerful, and so true! What a testament to the fact that the art of nursing goes way beyond the medical needs of the patient.

    We have had a few times when siblings were admitted at the same time. In all examples I can think of, they belonged on different floors according to their medical issues. But we made sure they were in rooms on the same floor, and if possible next door to each other. It made it easier on the parents. One night we had two siblings, ages about 2 and 5. They were both non-contagious. The mom was exhausted and had other kids to care for at home and had to leave them overnight. They were both having trouble being settled. We decided to put them in the same bed and they immediately calmed each other down and fell asleep holding each other. It was so precious.
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    That was very nice of you. It was very touching. It reminds me of my patient who is in coma. His immediate family and friends would always sound happy. Telling him to wake up and dance. But they had tears in their eyes.
  10. 3
    Thank you for this, it's a helpful reminder to myself on why I decided to be a nurse.
    finn55, jalyc RN, and maelstrom143 like this.
  11. 4
    Heartbreaking and heartwarming. I am so glad you were able to give them that time...God bless you.
    twinkletoes53, finn55, jalyc RN, and 1 other like this.

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