What rules have you broken to help a patient?

  1. We have a rule where I work about no pets being allowed. Last summer I had a young female patient, vented and going to die while waiting for a lung transplant and she was completely with it. I took care of her a lot and got to know her and her family quite well over the 6 weeks she was with us. I found out early on that she had a cat that she found as a kitten 15 years earlier. I am an animal lover so I decided one night to take her husband aside and see if it would be ok if he snuck the cat in. He nearly started to cry. He said I have been debating trying to sneak the cat in. I can't believe you are going to help me do this. She spent about 20 minutes with her cat and then the cat went home. She seemed more at peace after that. We also brought a dog in once back when I had this wonderful manager. She actually arranged the whole thing. The dog laid on the bed with this COPDer and he died peacefully later that night. His wife siad the dog was beside herself prior to the visit but that she was ok afterward. I guess she just wanted to say goodbye.
    So what rules have you broekn to make a patient happy? For me it was well worth every second of those 20 minutes. I wouldn't have cared if they fired me!
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  2. 41 Comments

  3. by   RN-PA
    Awwwww, fedupnurse-- such nice stories! :kiss I'd want you for MY nurse since I'm an animal-lover, too. (Did the female pt. waiting for the lung transplant die before receiving it?)

    I haven't broken any rules that I'm aware of to help a patient, but if it had anything to do with animals, I would.
  4. by   fedupnurse
    Yeah, she died. We ended up transferring her to Philly. Apparently you are removed from the list if you are vented, so we trasferred her to a chronic vent unit in the hopes she could get weaned and placed back on the list. We never took away her hope but we all knew she'd never come off the vent long enough to get back on the list and get lungs. Sad. I'm with you. As long as it isn't a slithery animal, I'm there!
    That's the beauty of working nights! You can get away with this kind of stuff!! Makes the fatigue worth it!
  5. by   Mary Dover
    Fedup - you are the coolest. Can't wait to work with you at allnurse hospital.
    Once, several years ago, while working on an inpt psych unit, I brought a female pt some chocolate. We had developed a pretty good rapport. She was craving it - extras such as that were kinda against the unit rules. But hey - she NEEDED it. Chocolate (like laughter) is often the best medicine.
    You know, several years later, while working at the outpt clinic - our paths crossed again. She had NEVER forgotten the gesture. She sent me a sweet little bouquet of flowers to remind me and thank me.
  6. by   fedupnurse
    I can't live without chocolate either. That probably explains why I'm not a size 6 or 8 or 10 etc. anymore!
  7. by   rdhdnrs
    Once when I was charge on L&D, I broke unwritten rules by accepting a transport of an intubated patient. I did call the ADON, respiratory and ICU first and had all the personnel present that I needed but I was NOT popular with the other nurses. "We don't do that here", "I'm not taking her", etc. There were no other beds available in the hospital. What was I supposed to do? Let her die?
    Got very nice letters from my Director. And the mom and baby went home together. That's all that matters.
  8. by   hoolahan
    Oh my goodness I am a rebel and rulebreaker, it is my nature! LOL!

    I had a lady who had a CVA post CABG, she had been tubed for days, and making very slow progress. She was finally extubated but soooo depressed. Her dtr came to visit and said if only she could see her grandson, he is the light of her life. We had a very strick rule of no kids under 16 in our open CT ICU, but it was a weekend, she was next to 3 empty beds, and closest to the door. We had a B-buster charge nurse on too, you know, totally into the power of being in charge, I knew she would say no, so I told the dtr, wait til she shes the charge nurse step away from the nurses station, I'll pull the curtain, and hurry up in behind the curtain with the boy, he was seven, and soooo cute! Well, he came behind the curtain, and you should have seen that woman's face light right up. She smiled a HUGE smile, that made it all worth it. Well, I never considered the kids little feet would be visble below the curtain hem, but the charge nurse saw it, pulled back the curtain, and said Linda, I needd to see you please. She insisted my actions were totally inappropriate. I asked why. She said, she was so sick. I said, but she's not tubed, has only peripheral IV, and she looks good now, maybe only a tad pale. She looked at the two of them then, and she said, well, I have to say, she looks great right now. I guess you were right.

    When I did peds, I also frequently, and very carefully, allowed children to be held when they had chest wall lines in, a big no-no, but how long can a child go w/o a hug?? Or a parent?

    I also allowed a family to come to the bedside of a dying pt, they wanted their father to be a no code, but the doc would not write the order, so I told them the minute his BP started to fall, I'd call them. I did, they came in and formed a circle around the bed, when the doc came, he was so intimidated by that manuever, he had no idea what to do, so we let the poor man die with dignity (he had been defib'd 37 times the day before and had no rhythm under the pacer) The docs never knew that the family was not there already.

    If I could have smuggled in animals I would have!
  9. by   LasVegasRN
    Fedupnurse - you are wonderful! But you'd have to find a creative way to slip my 138 lbs rottweiler in somehow!

    We had a female patient once, in her late 70's. Very sweet, very sick. She had this older gentleman that would come and visit her each and every day without fail, and would stay the entire amount of visiting hours. I was working 3-11 pm at that time and he would be there when I came on, and left at 8:30 pm when hours were over. I asked the day shift nurse what time he usually came in, she said always at 11 am. Well, I knew he wasn't leaving the room to go anywhere and I'm thinking this man is not eating while he is here. Skinny as a rail. I'm a sucker for old romantic couples anyway, so I would take extra food trays off the cart from patients who had already left or went for surgery and give him one when I brought the patient hers. The first time I offered him a tray, his eyes welled up with tears. He was so grateful, and so hungry!! He had not been eating!! So, if all the trays were accounted for, the unit secretary and I would order an extra one (saying someone dropped theirs or something) to make sure this guy got fed. When his lady friend was discharged, they left a bouquet made of lollipops in my cubbie at work. I still have the flower mug they put them in to this day (that was in 1985).
    :angel2:
  10. by   eldernurse
    Question: Why do those doctors put an end stage cancer patient on an 1800 ADA diet? I say, milkshakes for them all!
    I have broken diet rules for years. I have let pets come in. I have let the occasional patient smoke in the bathroom. I have given patients supplies when I could. After all, I am a patient advocate.
    I support my institution and I would never put the hospital at risk, but I take care of patients. Some of the idiotic rules and orders are put there to cut down on chaos, but there is a human side to nursing that we cannot ignore.
  11. by   Lizard101
    20 years ago I had a great evening supervisor and she smuggled a dog in to see an elderly pt, was the best therapy he could get, got better and went home. I also let a family bring in a bird to a little girl who was dying in peds, she was so happy! We decided to ask the Dr. and he wrote an order to allow it to stay!
  12. by   CseMgr1
    It just goes to show that the RIGHT way, isn't always the BEST way. Kudos to all of you, for putting your patients first! =)
  13. by   arbley
    It is often better to act and beg forgiveness than to ask and be denied.
  14. by   Jenny P
    When I was 8, my mother had to be hospitalized for 6 months of bedrest (that's how they treated CHF and heart problems back in the 50's). There were 5 of us, ranging in age from 9 to 2 yrs, and a sweet young nurse snuck us up the back stairs to see Mom after a battle ax nurse had told my Dad that children weren't allowed in the hospital. This was in Montana, and we were being sent to Minn. to stay with Mom's sister and family for the 6 months. We got to my hometown on Christmas Eve; Mom died January 10th. I have never forgotten that wonderful nurse that broke the rules for us-- she was my inspiration for becoming a nurse!

    Thanks to all of the rule breakers out there who put the patient first!

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