This morning, I woke up to the awful news that a neighbor of mine passed away early this morning. He had been diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer, and had begun hospice care earlier this week, and his standing orders included morphine prn (not exactly sure of the dosage information, but you get the idea).
When the news of his death was shared with me this morning, I was told that his wife almost called me last night because he needed another dose of morphine, and the hospice nurse was running late on top of traveling about an hour to his home. They had wanted to contact me (a newly graduated RN who was licensed this past week, and still unemployed) to administer the shot. On a side note, he died almost immediately after receiving the shot of morphine.
Had they called me, I just don't know if I could have done it - I think I'm too afraid of liability, or (in hindsight) that someone may have blamed his death on the fact that a new grad administered the medication, instead of being fully able to understand the effects of morphine. Thankfully, I was out of town and hence they didn't call me. But what would you have done?
I would have done it as long as I could have called the hospice agency and spoken with the nurse and it was OKed. Would have asked for a dosage that she wanted to use as well as I don't do hospice, narcotic dosages can range widely, and I didn't know this person as a patient.
I do think that there is a significant possibility that it would not be OKed based on the hospice agency's policies, applicable laws, etc. However, when faced with an actively dying patient and asked if there was something I could do to help, I would make an effort to, if I could ensure that things were going to be square all around.
Last edit by CNL2B on Jul 18, '10