Death and the dying patient, what experiences do you have? - page 2

by madwife2002 Asst. Admin

8,671 Views | 20 Comments

My greatest fear as a new student nurse was how was I going to cope when I saw my first dead person? I had never even had a relative who had died nor been to many funerals. In the UK we donít really have open coffins or... Read More


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    thanks for sharing your stories! I still have a long way to go but I'll remember this for when I do become a nurse in the near future.
    madwife2002 likes this.
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    Quote from DSkelton711
    Even though family wasn't there, you were. Sometimes that is enough. Sounds like she was waiting for them to leave so she could, too.
    Lots of our terminally ill patients die when the family go home or out of the room for a while. Too many to be a coincidence.
    Last edit by JDZ344 on May 14, '14
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    I've been to many funerals. Mostly family members whom I had expected to pass due to their health. Perhaps this is why I feel I may be a bit odd toward the subject of death. It always saddens me-even when I don't know the individual who passed. But I'm still always very calm around death. Very little emotion shows, though I do feel some. I've gotten very good at not showing it, however. To the point that I fear that many of my future deceased patients families may see me as uncaring. Here is my experience of seeing a man die in front of me for the first (and so far, last) time in my life.

    I was a customer service supervisor at an airline in Las Vegas, and as a man was walking off of the jet bridge, he started panting and then collapsed. I didn't know what to do. I immediately had one of the clerks call 911 and inform them that a passenger is having a heart attack. I asked the flight attendants if they were trained to used a defibrillator. None were. I held the mans hand, and I looked him in his eyes and told him to "Relax." I debated in my head whether or not to tell him that "Everything will be ok, and help is on the way." I told him that help was on the way. I didn't tell him that he will be ok. I just knew that he wasn't going to survive. I knew that. I didn't want the last thing he heard to be a lie. He died a few seconds later.

    I still remember his name to this day. I also remember the paramedics making jokes about his weight and that infuriated me! I pulled them to the side and not so politely let them know that what they were doing was inappropriate. What they told me was that the jokes were a habit that many health care workers pick up as a way of dealing with death. I don't know, maybe they're right.
    madwife2002 likes this.
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    I had a pretty steep learning curve when it came to death when I was an EMT. Before getting into medicine I had never really experienced death, I was fortunate enough that all my grandparents were still alive and well and I had never been to a funeral. I remember my first week on the truck we had 4 codes. First was a 12 day old infant dropped on his head by his mother (high on crack), next was a 17 year old drug OD; brain dead after a messy code, then a massive MI, and finally a 22 year old from a MVA with a traumatic aortic rupture; that code was just going through the motions. The physical death never really bothered me but the family memebers did. Especially the 17 y/o who was found at home, the parents were hysterical and the mother was screaming/crying. As far as the sick humor goes I have to agree, there is no way to survive dealing with death and dying everyday without having some type of coping mechanism and for many that is humor. Having said that, making comments about a patient on scene is totally disrespectful and unprofessional.
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    Maternal morbidity and mortality in developing countries remains to be issue for concern. All hands on deck to prevent the catastrophic effects our woman and families all over. Prevention of major complications such as pregnancy induced hypertension(PIH), Pre Eclampsia and even Eclampsia, Antepartum and Postpartum Haemorrhages as well as puerperal Sepsis should be advocated.

    How can we prevent puerperal sepsis?
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    Nov 3 by [COLOR=#003366]echoRNC711[/COLOR] Nov 3 by [COLOR=#003366]echoRNC711[/COLOR] A member since Sep '12 - from 'Bronx, NY, US'. echoRNC711 has '20' year(s) of nursing experience and specializes in 'Med/surg,Tele,CVRU,ASU,PACU,OR,Cardiac R'. Posts: 151 Likes: 333
    Awards:

    There are two great privileges in life to be present at a birth or a death. I consider it both an honor and a privilege to stand as a witness to a pt life as they transition past death into new life As a hospice nurse I truly agree and dailoy experience what you have posted. It can be a very spiritual peaceful experience for both the patient and the caregiver I feel truly blessed to be part of every one of my patient's final journey!
    echoRNC711 and madwife2002 like this.
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    I love your article but am very confused. I completely agree with the lecturer. I have told families their loved one is dead.

    I would love some examples from you of your gentle terminology?

    It seems your one unique experience, which I don't doubt happened exactly as you said, and I don't doubt would have been best NOT to say "he is dead" under those circumstances, although I would have handled it exactly as you did. Has left you and us with nothing more to go on than use "gentle terminology."

    When you call families at home at 2:00 in the morning to tell them their loved one is dead, this would be an expected death of an elderly patient, what would you say?

    When you are sitting in a private room with family whose loved one, again elderly patient brought in by paramedics to ER, probably massive MI, probably dead when the paramedics got to the home. anyway what gentle terminology do you use?
    madwife2002 likes this.
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    Brownbook,

    I would probably say I am really sorry but your 'family member' has died, which is a lot gentler that saying your family member is Dead.

    I am not afraid to say it but I was trying to portrait that I took the lecturer literally, which was a harsh way.

    I have had to inform a lot of people over the years and I never say the same thing it all depends on the circumstances.

    I understand what you are confused about, and thank you for pointing it out to me
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    Quote from lantanaRN

    There are two great privileges in life to be present at a birth or a death. I consider it both an honor and a privilege to stand as a witness to a pt life as they transition past death into new life As a hospice nurse I truly agree and dailoy experience what you have posted. It can be a very spiritual peaceful experience for both the patient and the caregiver I feel truly blessed to be part of every one of my patient's final journey!
    I so totally agree with you, they are both privileges to be present at birth and death.
    I would love to be a hospice nurse, and I envy you your great job.
    When my mother passed away at a hospice, I was humbled by their kindness
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    I don't think a family member should be told over the phone at any time. How do you verify they have the right to know and that you aren't violating privacy? As far as "gentle terminology" I would hope that this is another way of saying be compassionate. Culturally, I think it would depend, in America most people know without any confusion what passed away means. I would hate for someone to say to me "your dad is dead". How about in these situations, isn't it a physician's responsiblity? What do they say? Nurses are generally considered to have a better bedside manner and yet I have seen doctors tell people about the death of a loved one (I have worked general floor, transplant, newborns, and LTC) and they say something like "I'm sorry we did all we could but he did not survive". I think that is gentle. I think the distinction is the way it feels. If it is percieved as a slap in the face or as breaking it easily.
    As far as telling a person over the phone how would you feel if they rush to the facility only to be killed in a car accident or kill another because they are overly emotional?


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