Originally posted by krispynurse
I've always worked with patients (people) not animals. We may have kidded around saying that we were going to do a slow code on a certain patient but when a code happens you take into considerationthe wishes of the patient and the family. Even if you don't agree with this all the time. This is your job as a nurse to follow orders and to do everything humanly and medically possible to not let that patient die. No it's not a very good feeling when you are doing CPR on a 80 year old emaciated sweet little ole lady and you feel her ribs crack under your hands but you do your job. If they didn't want us to our job they would have signed a DNR. And as far as double dosing a patient I can't believe you asked this one.....No I have never double dosed a patient. I have given meds as the doctor has ordered them and this is usually ordered in a way to keep the patient as comfortable as possible until the good Lord feels he/she needs to come home. Does this help you in any way?
Please, don't misunderstand the concept of "double-effect dosages". The term is commonly used in pro-euthenasia literature. It referrs to a doctor prescribing extremely high dosages of pain killers for the purposes of relieving pain but ignoring the associated risks. It does not refer to giving a lethal dose, as I stated in the question. In other words, when a terminally ill pt is in such severe pain that the "safe" dose prescribed by the FDA is insufficient to relieve the pain so the pt is given a higher dose in order to relieve the pain, but with the knowledge that the pt may suffer life-threatening consequences (i.e. respiratory arrest, hepatotoxicity, etc).
By the way, as you hinted, yes, my having worked with animals for so many years and now switching to working on humans is one of the reasons I picked this topic to write on. However, I also saw my mother die of cancer in 1997. My family and I cared for her as we watched her suffer from debilitating pain and nausea. I watched her spend the last 4 days of her life in dilerium from urea toxicity after her kidneys shut down. She had signed a DNR but that did not help her in her last weeks of life. I knew my mother was in favor of euthenaia and I had to agonize at seeing her suffer, knowing she would end it if she could and knowing I could not help in her greatest moment of need.
As a nurse, both human and veterinary, I have and always will obey orders and do as I'm told. I've had animal pts that have suffered horribly and the clients (owners) wouldn't "let go" and let us end the suffering. I did everything I could to keep my pt alive, despite my personal feelings. And I always will.
Here's a couple of quotes I found very interresting on the topic:
"I am grateful for the advances medical science has made in recent years; neither my wife nor I would be alive today if it were not for them. However, when a person is clearly facing death and has absolutely no hope of recovery, there comes a point where artificial means are no longer prolonging life, but are simply delaying death. I find nothing in scripture that would make us insist on continuing life in such a situation." - Rev Billy Graham
"No decent human being would allow an animal to suffer. It is only to human beings that human beings are so cruel as to allow them to live on in pain, in hopelessness, in living death, without moving a muscle to help them." - Isaac Asimov
"Those who come after us will wonder why we kept a human being alive against his own will when we would have been punished by the state if we kept an animal alive under similar conditions." - British Methodist Minister Rev. Leslie Weatherhead