Have you ever gone in to find a patient dead? What happened? - page 3

About 20 years ago I was making my initial rounds on my patients and went into a room and didn't see the patient. I knocked on the bathroom door, no answer. I went to see if he had been checked out... Read More

  1. by   HappyNurse2005
    My mother was a phlebotomist at a local hospital and told me of a story where she went in to get this elderly woman's blood. The woman was up in a chair. Apparently, the woman was alive at first, then she noticed that the woman really didn't flinch when she stuck her, so she looked up and yep-pt was dead
  2. by   FranEMTnurse
    Yes. Several years ago when I was working as a nurses aide. I had given a complete bed bath and linen change to a male resident in the LTC facility where I worked. I was a fairly new employee at the time. Approximately 30 minutes after I left him, I went back to check on him, and there he was, his eyes and mouth were open wide, and he had a look of horror on his face. I shall always remember that look. Well anyway, I reported it to the charge nurse working on that floor for the day. Then they prepared him for the undertaker to take him away.
  3. by   nialloh
    Quote from caroladybelle
    My favorite is being at the bedside of a DNR patient on a monitor, the patient dies and it takes 10-20 minutes for the monitor room to call on it.

    This could be PEA - pulse less electrical activity. To the monitor tech, nothing might be happening. Also a thing to watch for is if a pacemaker starts firing constantly, the pt may have passed. We cought a few like that.
  4. by   PamUK
    I remember about 15 years ago, this man came uo to me & said "I think you better check the mens toilets. I just heard a bumping noise"

    In I went & knocked on the locked door... no answer. Peeped under the door and saw the patient on the floor. Fortunately, the doors had an unlocking device on the outside, so using my trusty scissors, I managed to unlock it. The patient had fallen off the toilet, head between legs and his bum was halfway up the door, jim-jams around his ankles. When I opened the door, his body had done a full summersault

    We then had the problem of getting him back into his bed, so we got a trolley from the portering department but it wouldn't fit into the toilet room... why would it ever need to?!! We eventually got a wheelchair and put him in that, with an oxygen mask on & pretended to the other patients (it was an open ward) he had collapsed, but was still alive. They must have thought we were mad because he was clearly dead, even the half-blind could have picked that one up at 50 paces. What a fiasco

    Although we found the situation fairly comical (black humour & all that) I often think of the undignified death that man had & hope I dont go in a similar way.
  5. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from nialloh
    This could be PEA - pulse less electrical activity. To the monitor tech, nothing might be happening. Also a thing to watch for is if a pacemaker starts firing constantly, the pt may have passed. We cought a few like that.
    Or the monitor tech hasn't noticed.

    I once worked agency in one place where I had a patient who had about 2 minutes of VT while I was escorting her to the bathroom, but I never knew about it for FIVE hours! :uhoh21:

    Apparently the next shift came on and had pulled all the alarm strips. Then, instead of notifying me directly, the MT just taped the strip to the patient's chart rack.

    A quick look through the strip history revealed that this patient popped in and out of VT pretty often seemingly without any ill effects. However, had I been notified, I would've made her stay in bed and upped her O2, at the very least.

    Never went back to that place.
  6. by   Chicklet2
    My last 3 nights of my practicum i found 3 dead. The first one i opened the bathroom door and he was dead on the floor, 2nd one was dead when i came into the room, 3rd one took his last breath while i was standing beside him. Another one died on my 4th night, but i wasn't the one that found him.
  7. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from dutchgirlrn
    i'm still seeing your age as 50, the same as me. i'm a sept 55 baby, what about you?
    september 2, 1955. how about you?
  8. by   NawtyNurse69
    Quote from Zachary2011
    I work in an ER and have worked on many floors prior. I am on a code team for our hospital and it just blows my mind how many floors and staff get flustered and dont seem to know what to do during a code situation. I cant count the times I have gone to the floor when a code was called and chest compressions havent even been started, sometimes still no crashcart or zoll hooked to pt. , some nurses say they are waiting on the DR. , well people ACLS is a protocol not a Dr.s order. CPR is essential to maintain blood and oxygen supply for the hopes of revival or survival. Place those defib pads on and shock as needed, IE: V-Fib, Pulseless V-Tach. Give that EPI and do CPR to circulate, bag w/ 100% oxygen untill resp. or the ER Dr can intubate if needed. Give that Atropine as needed. You do not need a Dr. there to save a life, he will get there to pronounce death or for orders outside of ACLS ie: Sodium Bicarb, and in the case of lethal Arrythmiasm, Amiodarone etc. I hope I dont sound to firm in this note, but CPR and shocks must be started and given ASAP, the pts. life is at risk, and this pt. could be you or a loved one someday and how would you feel if the pt. was found down at 0800 and CPR wasnt started untill 0807. ............... I do understand that if they arent monitored their can be some time before they are found, but if you do find just follow that ACLS protocol, and sleep well knowing you did everything you could do and just maybe saved a life.
    While I agree that initiating CPR should be a given, if you work in a hospital, but most floor staff know nothing about ACLS protocol, b/c most hospitals utilize code teams. I've been an RN for 13 years and have never been required to have ACLS certification anywhere I have worked. In fact, prior to the last few years, I'd never worked in the ED, ICU or on Telemetry, so wouldn't even have been able to tell you what was a shockable rhythym or not. This seems to be the norm everywhere that I have worked and I have worked as a travel RN in MANY hospitals. I have also seen floor staff get flustered in a code situation. I think there are severals reasons for this: some places it was just young and inexperienced staff who had never really been in a code before, other times, it was just that a particular unit, ortho for example, just does not really SEE all that many codes so they just don't do it that often. Also, I work nites, and a lot of facilities tend to have relatively new nurses working the nite shift. I have been in many many codes, where u call it, grab the cart, and by the time you've got the back board under the patient, the team is already starting to arrive. I've always let them take over once they get there, b/c they're the ones who know ACLS and do it all the time. I will continue with compressions, or bagging or handing meds from the cart etc. But I have always been told in mock codes that the floor nurses are only responsible for initiating CPR, giving the hx to the team, and then helping as needed. I would NEVER start ACLS protocol without an MD or the team there, because I am just not qualified to do so. If at your hospital, the floor staff really are not even initiating BCLS, or grabbing the cart etc, then maybe you should recommend to Staff Development that they have more Mock Code Inservices so the floor staff can practice and get more comfortable with their roles in a code situation?
  9. by   FranEMTnurse
    Quote from NawtyNurse69
    While I agree that initiating CPR should be a given, if you work in a hospital, but most floor staff know nothing about ACLS protocol, b/c most hospitals utilize code teams. I've been an RN for 13 years and have never been required to have ACLS certification anywhere I have worked. In fact, prior to the last few years, I'd never worked in the ED, ICU or on Telemetry, so wouldn't even have been able to tell you what was a shockable rhythym or not. This seems to be the norm everywhere that I have worked and I have worked as a travel RN in MANY hospitals. I have also seen floor staff get flustered in a code situation. I think there are severals reasons for this: some places it was just young and inexperienced staff who had never really been in a code before, other times, it was just that a particular unit, ortho for example, just does not really SEE all that many codes so they just don't do it that often. Also, I work nites, and a lot of facilities tend to have relatively new nurses working the nite shift. I have been in many many codes, where u call it, grab the cart, and by the time you've got the back board under the patient, the team is already starting to arrive. I've always let them take over once they get there, b/c they're the ones who know ACLS and do it all the time. I will continue with compressions, or bagging or handing meds from the cart etc. But I have always been told in mock codes that the floor nurses are only responsible for initiating CPR, giving the hx to the team, and then helping as needed. I would NEVER start ACLS protocol without an MD or the team there, because I am just not qualified to do so. If at your hospital, the floor staff really are not even initiating BCLS, or grabbing the cart etc, then maybe you should recommend to Staff Development that they have more Mock Code Inservices so the floor staff can practice and get more comfortable with their roles in a code situation?
    Definitely!!! I'm actually surprised to read this. I was a CPR instructor for many years, and a VR or a VT rhythm is easily noticeable. It's when the rhythm goes all haywire, and a lot of times you can get the pt back if it's witnessed. This is one of the reasons why even BLS courses now have the AED. The thing tells you when to shock when to continue CPR, and when to stand back.
  10. by   esrun00
    The one time that comes to mind, is a doctor came in to round and he walked up to the desk and asked her the nurse was taking care of this patient, I called her to the desk and she said asked him what he needed and he replied "I don't need anything, but Mr. Smith (name changed) is dead". He was terminal and a DNR, but kinda shocking for the nurse. She had last been in the room 20minutes earlier and he was eating breakfast.

    kt
  11. by   jodyangel
    Well at the facility I just left (read dysfunction nurses lol)...we had an incident almost a year ago now. Someone on nights, turned the volumn down on the alarms. This is a telemetry floor mind you!! They never saw her brady down........and she died. When they saw the flat line they coded her but to no avail.

    Now, the thing is.....the entire staff was counselled, but no one admitting turning the volumn down. The other day, one of the young na's thats attending classes with me told a few of us that she went to the CEO at the time and told her that she SAW a certain nurse turn down the sound that night.

    And that That was her routine. Come to work, look at everyone. Turn down the sound so as not to annoy the staff.

    Now, how do ya like that??
  12. by   aryahsmom84
    I was just wondering what you did to become a nurse, because I would love to be a nurse like you, but it seems almost impossible for me !
  13. by   NawtyNurse69
    Quote from esrun00
    The one time that comes to mind, is a doctor came in to round and he walked up to the desk and asked her the nurse was taking care of this patient, I called her to the desk and she said asked him what he needed and he replied "I don't need anything, but Mr. Smith (name changed) is dead". He was terminal and a DNR, but kinda shocking for the nurse. She had last been in the room 20minutes earlier and he was eating breakfast.

    kt
    hey, Do I know you? Have we ever worked together???....b/c this exact thing happened to me many years ago. I actually had just left the room like 5 minutes prior! And the funniest part about it was...the doc went to the desk, told the charge nurse, who in turn, sought me out in another patient's room....I didn't BELIEVE her when she told me, because it happened to be April Fool's Day! I thought for sure she had to be trying to pull a joke on me, b/c I had just left the room and the patient was sitting up eating breakfast. He was also terminal and a DNR. So she told me he had expired, and I said "yeah right, April Fool's" and she looked at me like I'd lost my mind. So, after seeing the look on her face, I trotted right over to his room, expecting a bunch of coworkers in there saying..... "April Fools!"! But, nope, he was dead!!!! Needless to say, I was mortified, not only by the fact that he died so suddenly, but also b/c I thought my charge nurse and coworkers must have thought I was very crass and careless!!! I'm glad it sounds like it can happen to anybody!!!

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