What's your "Dead Patient" story?

  1. This story is a bit of a rant, but I want to hear funny ones, too.

    Yeaterday, a pt of mine passed away at (time) 1727. She was 96 years old, had a fantastic life and had family & friends with her at the end. It was a very gentle passing, and the family thought I was a big help to them. That is the good part.

    At 1730 I paged the MD to get him to pronounce the pt so she could go to the funeral home as soon as the family was ready.

    No answer to my page. At 1750 I page him again with "NOW" added to the page. Still no answer.

    At 1815, I page him STAT with the notation, "Your patient Rm 217 deceased". *STILL* no answer.

    At this time, I called the operator, who said, "Dr. X is no longer on-call. Dr. Y is." So paged Dr. Y.

    Guess what? NO ANSWER!

    I called the Operator again, who called Dr. Y. Dr. Y yelled at the operator, saying, "I AM NOT the on-call doctor! Dr. Z is!" The operator told her that the schedule clearly showed her as the doctor on-call. Dr. Y yelled, "I *SAID* I AM NOT ON-CALL! Call Dr. Z and quit bothering me!"

    I now got the Nursing Supervisor involved. I told the family it was OK to leave, that we would handle the sending to the funeral home, etc. and not to worry. They were beginning to really wonder about this stupid MD, who was not pronouncing poor Mama. I had to be really diplomatic about all of this and try hard not to say, "Well, your doctor is a jerk!" Supervisor called Dr. Z, who verified the on-call MD was indeed, Dr. Y.

    Are you guys still with me here?

    Nursing Supervisor called Dr. Y for me, and told me she would be calling me soon.

    It has now been 1 hour and 45 minutes since the time of death. The family is gone, but I feel terrible for them and am VERY MAD about this situation. What if it was a patient who was going down the tubes? Would they want to still play "Who's On Call"?? Of course, I would have intervened a lot faster, but you know what I mean.

    FINALLY Dr. Y called me back. I told her, "The patient of Dr. X FOR WHOM YOU ARE ON CALL passed away at 1727. I need a release for the funeral home to pick her up."

    Dr. Y: "Uhhhhhh.....no...uhhhhh....breath sounds or heart tones?"



    I answer, "No...not for ALMOST TWO HOURS NOW!"

    Dr. Y: "Yes, well, you can release the body and call the family."

    Duh. I said, "The family was present at the death." I wanted to add "YOU IDIOT" but restrained myself.

    Dr. Y: "Well, uhhh you can call the funeral home then."



    Well.........what do you think?
    Last edit by brian on Mar 8, '03
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  2. 42 Comments

  3. by   NurseShell
    Clue phone?
  4. by   Furball
    brrring... brrrring... brrring... brrring
  5. by   NurseShell
    Hey! It's for Dr. Y?!?! can you believe it?!
  6. by   JedsMom
    WHAT A LOSER!!!!!
  7. by   kids
    This is one of those no f'ing way stories...
    I was working at a SNF, was shift charge...LOL had been going down hill for months...and it looked like it was the end, family had been in and said their goodbys that day etc...LPN, team leader comes and gets me, telling me that "LOL" was gone and needed to be assessed to pronounced...we go in the room...I look at her, she is totally still, mouth open etc...I assess...no radial or carotid, no resp...LPN puts the BP cuff on her arm & is checking for a BP and getting nothing...I put leaned over and put my steth on her chest and heard nothing, I pressed a little harder...she gasped and opened her eyes...and I got a slow AP...that increased in rate. I PEED MY PANTS.

    Her Doc he was a major sweetheart, a local boy in his 40's who worked his way thru med school working in the mill. His elderly partner retired and his entire case load was "old" people that had been with the practice forever (practice hadn't accepted any new patients in 10 years) and he NEVER parted with his patients when they came into the NH, he made rounds a couple of times a week, usually in a pair of Levis and work boots. He didn't have an answering service and we didn't even have a pager number for him...if no one answered the office number we called him at home.

    So now I have to call and tell him??? I get him on the phone and I am like Rick...sorry to bug you but...and tell him the whole story... Finally he says: Nancy...are you trying to tell me that she was dead and you revived her with a laying of hands? I replied...well, actually it was more a laying of the stethescope.

    She lived for 2 more years and I never lived it down...everytime I had to call him to tell him one of his patints was gone he would ask me if I had already tried to raise them with the laying of the stethescope.

    He now runs a private hospice in my area, we run into each other now and then and he always tells me he would love to have me come work for him but he's afraid I'd put him out of business with my stethescope.
  8. by   Flynurse
    *shaking head*
  9. by   Scavenger'sWife
    That is TOO funny!!!!! Thanks for sharing!

    Any one else??
  10. by   VivaLasViejas
    The very first time I had a LTC resident pass away, the CNAs all laughed at me because I was listening for a heartbeat and attempting to take a BP, like I'd been taught to do in nursing school. There was, of course, nothing, so I asked them to get her cleaned up and ready for the funeral home while I notified the MD. Just as I was leaving the room, the resident suddenly hitched in a big breath and let it all out in a loud sigh, which scared the hell out of me---I thought I'd made a mistake and she wasn't really dead.......I didn't know then about agonal respirations, or the noises some people make after death. I checked for VS again and found none, which made the CNAs laugh even harder, but damned if I was gonna send someone to the funeral home who wasn't undeniably and reliably dead!!
  11. by   shoelace
    One day I went to work and got report on my 2 patients. The off-going RN told me that Mr. Z was going to die soon, his family had been with him and had already gone home. I looked at the monitor and saw the usual paced rhythm that he'd had the last few days. She said she'd just been in there.
    I went to see my other patient first and got kind of busy with her... but every time I walked by the monitor, I would look at Mr. Z's rhythm and it was exactly the same... 100% paced with capture.
    About a 1/2 hour later, I go in to check on him... he's deader than dead, still with a paced rhythm, still with capture. No pulse or resps and already cool.
    Had to wait ANOTHER 1/2 hour for the pacer-spikes-without-capture strip.
    Ick. I think that was the first time that I walked in on a dead person. I'd always been with my other patients that have died.
  12. by   kids
    Originally posted by mjlrn97
    The very first time I had a LTC resident pass away, the CNAs all laughed at me because I was listening for a heartbeat and attempting to take a BP, like I'd been taught to do in nursing school. There was, of course, nothing, so I asked them to get her cleaned up and ready for the funeral home while I notified the MD. Just as I was leaving the room, the resident suddenly hitched in a big breath and let it all out in a loud sigh, which scared the hell out of me---I thought I'd made a mistake and she wasn't really dead.......I didn't know then about agonal respirations, or the noises some people make after death. I checked for VS again and found none, which made the CNAs laugh even harder, but damned if I was gonna send someone to the funeral home who wasn't undeniably and reliably dead!!
    LOL...you made me remember another...same situation, except I wasn't a new nurse and instead of rechecking I let out a squackand dove under the next bed and belly crawled all the way to the door trying to get my feet under me to run...guess I'd been watching to many horror movies or something. Nothing like making a fool of one's self infront of witnesses.
  13. by   ayemmeff
    We once had a LOL admitted from the hospital mortuary to our ward. Can't remember who had pronounced her (hospital or community) but she died again within a couple of hours of admission.Creepy.
    My mil is so freaked out by the thought of this kind of thing,that she has made me promise to stick a pin in her, once she's in the funeral home,just to make sure she's really gone.
    Last edit by ayemmeff on Mar 7, '03
  14. by   duckie
    I was told where I currently work, they had a resident that was pronounced dead by all our standards of training. CNA's were preparing her body and she lets out this bit sigh, opens her eyes and starts breathing again. After totally freaking out, the nurse confirmed, she was indeed still alive. Monitored her closely for some time, same thing, all signs show she is dead, all preps made, sent to the funeral home, only this time she wakes up at the funeral home, in the body bag. Of course they got this frantic phone call and she was returned to the facility. I guess the next day, it happened again, but this time they let her body lay for a full eight hours before acting on the assumption that she was dead. Glad I wasn't there for that one!!!! Even the doctors could not explain what happened. ( I would assume there were a lot of wet bloomers when dealing with this one!!!)

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