Bizarre Reactions to Death

  1. I was trying to think of a gentle, positive, and non-offensive way to start this thread, but... it's true. I've witnessed some really bizarre reactions to patient's deaths: by family, by staff, by physicians.

    A dark subject, but interesting.

    The first bizarre incident that comes to mind was when the adult son of a patient came to the unit after the rest of the family called to let him know the father had passed. The family kept saying "he's gonna freak out" repeatedly. Well, that's nothing new. Yet, he DID freak out.
    As soon as he entered the unit and saw the family in the room gathered around the father, he dropped to his knees, let out this blood-curdling YEEEEEEE-AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!, got up, ran around the entire unit like he was racing Flo-Jo, burst out of the exit doors (setting off all kinds of alarms), ran down the steps to outside, flung himself into the grass and started eating the grass. *****!?

    I am quite sure there are others who have witnessed bizarre reactions also....
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  2. 77 Comments

  3. by   New CCU RN
    Had one son (30 year old son....) draw a picture for his mom who we were conferencing on whether to withdraw on. Mother was still alert at times...anyhow, he drew a pic of donald duck in a coffin....kinda sick.... everytime you walked in the room he'd ask you what you thought of the pic....
  4. by   LasVegasRN
    Donald Duck?!!

    Then there was the time the family got into a big brawl - right at the bedside. Big family. One of the brothers said something to one of the sisters, something to the effect of "he'd still be alive if you hadn't stolen from him". I saw the fist before anything. She popped him DEAD in the face POW!!, he fell back hitting the suction apparatus off the wall, so there was this ear-deafening SUCKING sound going on, the other brothers around the bedside started to jump on the sister - the other sisters started kicking and beating the brothers, the MOTHER in the meantime fainted and passed out on the floor.
    It took FOREVER for security to get there!! No one wanted to jump in and try to stop these people because they were all big and swanging (no, not swinging, SWANGING) like heavyweight boxers! It was terrible!
    I've said my share of *****? under my breath, but even the chief resident came in and said out loud, "WTF JUST HAPPENED HERE??" That room in the unit looked like a tornado hit it. :chuckle
  5. by   simao pt
    i've never witnessed nothing so bizarre as that first one. But i'm still young. I can wait
  6. by   Gomer
    I had a family of gypsies (yes, real gypsies) react at the death of the father (leader of the pact) by urinating on the ambulance bay entrance. Must have been a curse on the hospital as the next week a patient came in with cockroaches and infested an entire floor (which had to be closed to fumigate).
  7. by   oramar
    Very large Italian family. Ninty two year old father died. All children fainted dead away. There were TWELVE of them. Twelve people whose average weight was 250lbs laying on the floor out cold. We had to activate the disaster plan. I really felt sorry for them even though dealing with them was a pain. They really did care.
  8. by   ZORYA
    I figured this would be a good one LasVegasRN....Now if more people would just tell us their stories, huh? You've def had a few strange ones....
  9. by   baseline
    We recently had a pt die in the Cath Lab. She was really very old...but the family had insisted on this procedure....long story....

    At any rate....she died on the table, and the family ...after agreeing that the cath was a bad idea after all......became very upset that they couldn't just take Granny home....in the car.....like...now........ Seems they wanted to put her in the back yard with the rest of the family.................
  10. by   Reabock
    I remember one years ago, where the Mom was in for a while before she died, very large woman. When she died, heard that the family did not want to claim the body and made no arrangements, but that the girls, and I use that term loosely, were fighting about who got her underwear. Guess its hard to find them that big and they each wanted them, YUUCCKK! n Never did hear how long it took to get rid of the body , but I know it was more than several days!:roll
  11. by   RoadRunner
    The strangest I've ever seen was each family members (they were seven) cutting hair from their mother, as a "souvenir", while waiting for her to die. I remember hoping for the funeral to have a very good hairdresser....
  12. by   ZORYA
    I believe the haircutting is a Gaellic tradition....
  13. by   RN2B2005
    Taking locks of hair from the dead or dying was a common practise through the first half of this century. I have a lock of my great-grandmother's hair, taken just after she passed. Since I was only two when she died, I feel fortunate to have this physical connection to her.

    The guy who did the eating grass thing, does anyone else think it's possible that he was putting on a show for the other family members?
  14. by   karenG
    well, not really a death story but was once delivering a baby- you know the head is crowning etc and the father arrested! so there was I catching the baby surrounded by the crash team! the mum was screaming and the noise was awful........the dad survived but it was hairy to say the least! our delivery rooms are very small and there were a lot of people in it that day!!!

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