How would seeing a dead patient affect you personally? - page 4

I am interested in knowing how will you feel, if a patient were to pass on you, or if you witnessned it etc. I ask because, when I did my clinicals... The patient I chose for my careplan, was fine... Read More

  1. by   prmenrs
    I always felt sad and a little lost when an adult died. When a baby dies, I need to hold him/her. The last one I held had had numerous surgeries and was leaking serum thru every available portal. I swaddled him in a chux and held him any way.

    It's ok to cry. Families actually feel validated when staff mourns their loved one. You can usually function even when tearing up and feeling sad. If it's more than that for you, you may be over-identifying w/the family, and counseling (think Employee Assistance) may help you.

    When I was supervising, I tried to help w/postmortem care. And, I was very insistent that new nurses had a more experienced RN go to the morgue w/them and the security guard, rather that just the nurse and guard. It's a time when, IMO, staff should be supported, just like the family.
  2. by   SA2BDOCTOR
    Quote from prmenrs
    I always felt sad and a little lost when an adult died. When a baby dies, I need to hold him/her. The last one I held had had numerous surgeries and was leaking serum thru every available portal. I swaddled him in a chux and held him any way.

    It's ok to cry. Families actually feel validated when staff mourns their loved one. You can usually function even when tearing up and feeling sad. If it's more than that for you, you may be over-identifying w/the family, and counseling (think Employee Assistance) may help you.

    When I was supervising, I tried to help w/postmortem care. And, I was very insistent that new nurses had a more experienced RN go to the morgue w/them and the security guard, rather that just the nurse and guard. It's a time when, IMO, staff should be supported, just like the family.
    Your post touched my heart. WAW....
  3. by   SA2BDOCTOR
    Thanks for sharing everyone.
  4. by   nd deb
    I have worked as a Cna in the past in a hospital and ltc and so I have some experience in seeing people die and caring for them. It didn't really bother me then.

    I was at one time interested in working in neonatal icu since both of my sons were preeemies. I thought it was interesting. Now however, since my 2 yr son unexpectedly this past aug had gotten AML leukemia and died from it I don't know if I could work in that area. I don't know how I feel or deal with a loss of an infant that I would be taking care of. I think it would remind me of my son and really tear me up inside.
  5. by   SA2BDOCTOR
    Quote from nd deb
    I have worked as a Cna in the past in a hospital and ltc and so I have some experience in seeing people die and caring for them. It didn't really bother me then.

    I was at one time interested in working in neonatal icu since both of my sons were preeemies. I thought it was interesting. Now however, since my 2 yr son unexpectedly this past aug had gotten AML leukemia and died from it I don't know if I could work in that area. I don't know how I feel or deal with a loss of an infant that I would be taking care of. I think it would remind me of my son and really tear me up inside.

    nd deb, I am really sorry to hear about the loss of your son. How are you holding up? What is AML ?
  6. by   nd deb
    Thank You.. There are good days and bad days. It is one of the hardest things I have gone thru in my life. Only thing worse or harder would be losing my hubby. I have read that losing a child is worse then losing a spouse. I don't know, I think I would be pretty lonely if I lost my spouse.
    For xmas we went to disney world so that kept our minds busy and not dwelling on not having him here for xmas. He would have really gotten into this yr too. His 3 rd birthday is coming up January 12th. Not sure how that day is gonna go. He had acute myeloeous luekemia. It starts in the bone marrow with the myelocytes and then spreads into the blood. It is rare and hard to treat. The Acute lymphantic leukemia is the more common form of childhood leukemias and it is easier to treat, pronogisis and survial rate is higher. If I remember correctly I think AML has about a 60% survial rate. I had been told and read that with the chemo treatments it gets worse before it gets better. The body's chemistry really gets messed up and meds, bloodtranfusions, procedures are to done quite frequently to balance things out.
  7. by   shippoRN
    [quote=leslasic;1999588] To make matters worse, I had moved into her condo (at her insistence) when I started the pre-reqs for nursing school and she moved into the assisted living apartment. It proved to be a wonderful arrangement. It was her intention that I and my son would be able to live in her home until graduation, but after her death my Aunt and my mother (her daughters) forced me to move out so that the condo could be sold. It has cost me a relationship with my Aunt. We haven't spoken since the service and the final disbursements from the estate. The sale could easily have waited the two years until graduation, neither of them needed the money, but I certainly needed the home.

    I graduated December 16, 2006. How I wish my grandmother could have been there in person.. I believe she was there in spirit, but I cried that day because she wasn't there. Of course, neither was my Aunt nor my mother. My brother lives in another state, with his family, and wasn't there either.

    The only relationship that remains for me and any of my family is with my brother and his wife and my 2 wonderful nephews. I thank God for their love and hope that someday we can live closer together in order to have our children be near each other. The only person I have where I live is my son, and were it not for his father being a huge part of his life, I would have already moved to my brother's area. However, growing up in the situation that we did, I refuse to take my son away (geographically) from his father.

    -------------------
    I can totally relate to this as well, something similar also happened when my gran passed. What can you do you know? you always see people's greed and selfishness at some of the worse times.
  8. by   Curious1alwys
    For me there won't be anything worse than watching my own father waste away from cancer and then watching him die. Seeing his dead body there, only a shell of the person he used to be.

    Even though every death brings an emotional experience, nothing will ever compare.

    I think those of us who have watched family members die can agee with what I am saying...
  9. by   nd deb
    Yeah. I think it is sometimes perhaps better if one doesn't know what is all happening. When my son had gotten admitted to the hospital I could sense something was wrong when they had a chaplain visit with me before he got transferred to the other hospital. Then when we got up to other hospital I see where it was going. My hubby on the other hand didn't really know at first how serious, awful it was. I was unfortantely the only one there when the dr had told me he had leukemia and he didn't think he was gonna make it thru the first night. Before he talked to me, the staff kept asking me where my hubby and family was and that they should be there. I had to have hope but it was hard when I could see he was going down hill.
  10. by   SA2BDOCTOR
    I am so heart broken by your loss!
  11. by   shoegalRN
    I am starting a nursing program 01/17/07 and wonder how I can deal seeing a patient die. I remember watching my Great-Granny die a miserable death after losing her battle with cancer. I remember her holding my hand and squeezing it after taking her last breath. That really ate me up inside. Remember seeing how the medics came and took her body out of the house and my Granny was a mess. Then my beloved Granny died of cancer as well. I remember visiting her in the hospital and then getting a call she had passed away. I am still heartbroken over that. My 5 month old niece died 01/01/04 and this by far has been the worst funeral I have ever attended. I am doing a lot of soul searching trying to prepare myself for how I will handle death once I become a nurse.

    Now, in my younger days when I was out partying and things, I witnessed a man getting shot in the head in his convertible. He was left for dead because by the time the medics got there, he was already gone and had to wait for the Medical Examiner. I'll never forgot how he was walking and talking just an hour before and then slumped over dead with his brains hanging out an hour later. I didnt know this man, but I remember going home thinking about how his family must feel.
    Last edit by shoegalRN on Jan 5, '07 : Reason: grammer
  12. by   nd deb
    The sudden unexpected death of a child is hard, especially a young one. Our son's sudden illness and then death was a real shock to us. He died within a couple days of diagnosis. You really do feel helpless for there is really nothing you can do except live the experience. Only thing I can say is that someone who is a nurse who has experienced it may have empathy towards others that end up going thru it. It isn't a experience I would want to deal with for it is just so sad, awful for parents to go thru. It just would remind me of what I have gone thru and I don't really want to see someone go thru what I went thru. I have been there and felt it. At least I guess I can honestly tell them that I have been there myself.
  13. by   MIA-RN1
    about midway thru my very first semester of nursing school, I and another student were assigned to a patient together. We were double assigned because he was dealing with a lot of tough issues in the nursing home--isolation for orsa, anxiety, asthma, trach...bunch of stuff. We had several different areas we needed to change bandages on, and everytime in and out the room we had to gown mask and glove. And he called out all the time. I ended up finally just sitting with him, watching TV. It was history channel and it was about salt mines.
    It was a long and exhausting day. I saw his name two days later in the obituaries. He died about an hour after we left.
    I had so many feelings but mostly just happy that I was able to be there and just sit with him. Yes I did lots of other stuff and it was hot and sweaty and truly a royal pain to gown up, gown down a dozen times at least. And bandage changes as a first-semester nurse were pretty tough.
    But I will never forget one point during that afternoon when he was getting anxious and my instructor was in there with me (she stayed pretty close that day. Found out later my classmate and I were assigned specifically because she knew we could handle a higher-maintenance patient), anyway, the instructor took his hand and just looked at him and asked him what he was scared of. He said of dying. Now I know that was a huge clue and probably one of the reasons the instructor was nearby all day. Then I just thought of course he is scared of dying, he has all these issues. So I learned a good lesson that day, to listen beyond the words.
    I am so glad I sat with him. I wish I had offered to pray with him because I felt like I should but I didn't. I wll always feel a little sad but kind of glad too, that he was freed from his condition.
    Other patients have died since, but not while in my care. In my final semester several did, but it was a critical care tele floor, and kind of expected. I was a tech in an emergency room for a short while and saw two unsuccessful codes and had to do post-mortem care on one of them. Nothing hit me as hard as that first one during first semester, but each time I hear of it, I just hope that in some way I made thier last hours a little more comfortable. As for the codes/post-mortem, I was too freaked out and nervous about my role in that situation to really register much.
    Just recently on my floor we had a patient go into a pretty critical situation, which is kind of unusual on our postpartum floor. There is a real risk for her of life-altering issues including a risk of death. I had cared for her just before all this and it kind of makes my stomach knot up again. As a nurse you realize, I think, that no matter what we do, death always plays the last card. That's just the way it is and we as nurses need to do all we can to ensure that patients are comfortable and cared for when they near that final time.
    Last edit by MIA-RN1 on Jan 5, '07 : Reason: clarity

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