Lessons from an Autopsy (Warning: Graphic) - page 3

by LovingNurse 17,927 Views | 25 Comments

What, other than an A&P review, can a nurse gain from attending an autopsy? I wondered. This was certainly not my first post-mortem experience, but it was my first autopsy. I pretty much knew what to expect as far as the autopsy... Read More


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    My scan showed "mulitple rat bite like" spots: they didn't even bother to count the PEs, after an outpatient laparoscopy. Looking back, I don't know how I survived other than the grace of God. I kept insisting I had to go home after only one day in the hospital (wasn't dx'ed until 2 weeks postop), because I had promised my kids that my abd. surgery was nothing like their dad's (who turned out to have CA, and died 4 nomths after his exploratory surgery). Moms just don't want to admit there is something wrong.

    I think your experience (and mine) shows just how important it is to teach what to look for and report after any kind of surgery. Thanks for sharing. :redpinkhe
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    I'm so sorry about your husband, JBudd. Bless your heart. :heartbeat
    shows just how important it is to teach what to look for and report after any kind of surgery."
    Prayers of thankfulness that you are still here. redpinkhe:redpinkhe
    Last edit by LovingNurse on Apr 30, '08
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    Good job. I'm glad to see more people now have the opportunity to read your account of that day. It's still saved in my clinical file.
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    During nursing school I had a Professor who forbid us to test for Homan's sign, she had lost a fiance who threw a clot when the nurse tested for Homan's. He was in his early 20's and was a motorcycle accident victim.
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    How did you get to watch an autopsy? I'm very interested in watching one, but don't know how to go about it. (I'm sorry if this question seems callous...)
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    Hi HM74380,

    You might check with the education department at a teaching hospital. Not all hospitals do them. The hospital were I was has an open 'shadow program' where students and practicing nurses alike, can visit (almost) any area of interest in the hospital... whether it be areas of potential job interest that they'd like to check out, or areas to enhance their education.

    I had not requested to watch an autopsy that day. I was actually shadowing the IV/ PICC team - but they got caught up and I had time left to spare, and the opportunity arose so I took it.

    3 years ago, a dear friend of mine lost her husband suddenly, and he was autopsied at the same hospital where I saw this one. I kept thinking of him, my friend, and their child...and how I was waiting with her for the reason why he died too soon, and remembered during that wait how I fought to avoid the images of autopsy that were in my mind, and how I hoped she wasn't having them too.

    No, I hadn't planned on seeing an autopsy that day... but I did, and I think it made me a better nurse, so it happened for a reason.
    Last edit by LovingNurse on May 17, '08


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