Two incidents stand out in my mind:
Elderly man admitted to my unit. He was hours away from death...bleeding from every orifice. Doc ordered labs and IVs. His wife of 60+ years begged me to just let him be. I called the doc, told her the wife's wishes and get screamed at for 15 minutes...who did I think I was...SHE is the doctor, I the mere nurse. I let her rant on and on and told her we were going to honor his wife's wishes and if she wanted to come in and start the IV that was up to her. The poor man died less than 4 hours later, relatively peacefully with his wife at his side. She wrote me a 5 page thank you letter 2 days later. When I can't remember why I do this, I read that letter.
Other resident, same facility. 95 year old woman totally A+0. Diagnosed with cancer. Doctor recommended chemo therapy. She politely declined. Family was fine with that, doc was fine with that. A priest came in, found out she said she wasn't going to have chemo therapy and started screaming at her that it was tantamount to suicide and she was going to burn in hell. I called his superior I gave my opinion of how the priest had acted. The priest get sent to South America to preach to the natives and the woman was able to get her affairs in order and spend some time with her family. She died peacefully.
WE have to continue to be advocates for our residents. We are forming an Ethics Committee at my facility.