Have you ever cried when a Pt died

  1. Sorry if there is a thread somewhere on here already about this. I remember the first time one of my patients died on me. I was taking care of her and she got very sick, I was working in Assisted Living at the time so the rules here are a bit different. Anyways she was throwing up and I felt she needed to see a doctor it was pretty bad. I called our Manager on duty and she said we should wait and see how it goes. Anyways I didn't work with her again after that night but I came in 3 days later and they told me they finally sent her out to the hospital and that she died. She was in her early 40's. I lost it. I was so angry that I hadn't let myself get fired and sent her out, angry that the manager didn't send her out sooner, that maybe she would have lived if she had just gotten to the hospital sooner. I took it very hard. I began bawling and thankfully I had a nice co worker who covered my building and let me go compose myself. I cried a couple of other times, one lady I cared for was so sweet and reminded me of my grandma. Am I the only blubbering fool out here lol or has anyone else shed a tear for a patient that passed? Hospice is such a sad and hard, but rewarding and fulfilling job at the same time.
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    About Topaz7

    Joined: May '12; Posts: 126; Likes: 62
    LPN; from US
    Specialty: Psychiatric- Detox and ECT


  3. by   wishymaywishymight
    Yes. short answer. The long answer is that I had a pt that was young, and we had a lot in common. If she hadn't been my pt (I was a new grad too, very naive) she would have been my bff undoubtedly. We shared some intense situations as 2 code blacks were called during her stay with us. She had minimal visitors, hardly any family. we love animals, we are gardeners and vegans. she died for a stupid reason. stupid mrsa. I was asked by her mother to speak at her funeral because she had spent more time with us (me) at the hospital in the past year than anyone else. So I did. Prayer of St. Francis. I took my children who were barely even figments of my imagination when I knew her, by her grave. we left bandaids and a teddy bear. I like to think that maybe she peeks in on them. She passed about the same time Evanescence My Immortal came out...so that song still takes me back to her. We are human at best...we have been endowed with these emotions for some important reason. They say that the intensity of the loss reflects the intensity of your love. there's no shame in that...I can't imagine any agency that would frown on tears shed in our situations...Self care is important so that we can shed those tears and then get on to our next patient...if you're exhausted, hungry, home life issues....those need to be dealt with so that you're as "with it" as possible in the name of professionalism...but I think we've all been there...just take care of yourself too nurse!
  4. by   CherylRNBSN
    Of course.
    I am a seasoned nurse. 12 years in acute care, six of those in critical care.
    Not only have I cried, I have stood at the bedside and prayed for my patients.(Always silently. And always at the bedside of very sick/dying patients who were alone.)

    And we all have patients who touch a nerve or tender spot or remind us of loved ones.

    So while you obviously can't have a breakdown, you are a feeling human being, not a machine. And those make the VERY BEST Hospice nurses!

    You cried out of anger and frustration. Next time, you will trust your instincts! Valuable experience.
  5. by   merlee
    You say she was in assisted living, despite her age. So she was already in need of some care. It's not likely anything you may have done would have made a difference. But many of us cry, and many times! My first job out of school was in neonatal ICU, and losing some of those infants was really difficult. So hard.

    And in later years I worked in home health, and got very close to some of my patients. I attended some funerals over the years, and cried many times.

    It's all normal.
  6. by   Bortaz, RN
    Yes I have.
  7. by   Bortaz, RN
    Quote from merlee
    My first job out of school was in neonatal ICU, and losing some of those infants was really difficult. So hard.

    Amen. Same situation for me. Lost my first one after being her nurse for 3 full months, every day. I was just off of orientation when she died.
  8. by   sauconyrunner
    All the time. While these patients are not our loved ones, and I would never presume to take away from that deep grief, there have been times when I have cried just because of the sheer sadness of the loss of human life. Only once however, have I had to leave the room to get things together, and that was simply because the dead patient, once we got him uncovered etc was an aquaintance of mine. THat really made me cry- given that he was fairly young in excellent shape and was killed in a random "accident"....
  9. by   diva rn
    I was a PICU nurse for many years and of course we lost kids over that time span. Each one was heart wrenching.
    I cried many times with the families, with other nurses and by myself.
  10. by   Been there,done that
    No, I haven't. This does not make me an unfeeling monster, I can cry over many things. At work, I am too busy keeping everything else together and I don't get emotionally attached. Getting emotionally attached will kill YOU.

    You did what you could in that situation.
    She died young.Obviously, she had major health issues. Your "shoulda, coulda , woulda's "" are not helping you move on.

    It was her time. If you continue to respond to death in this manner, you may want to consider some other area to work.
    This is tearing you up, and as you well know ,"life is too short" to live that way.
  11. by   MattNurse
    Nope, I have never done long term care either so usually I don't know people well enough to get attached.
  12. by   SuesquatchRN
    Yes, but when I feel the emotion of the families. And it's okay.
  13. by   nurseprnRN
    yes, of course. even in critical care sometimes we'd have patients for long, long stays, and with primary nursing (thank god) you can get attached. when you see the first bad lab report, the first little bit of blood coming out of a tube where there shouldn't be any, the first couple of stitches dehisce, and you know where this is going because you've seen it before, you keep a calm face on for the patient's sake, but then you go in the locker room or your car on the way home and you cry and cry and cry.

    you go in the next day, and they're incrementally worse, but still there; a few more days or a week, and the end is in clear sight, and still you don't cry where anyone can hear or see you, including your spouse and kids.

    then the day arrives when you come in and all the pressors are up and running, the vent pressures are way too high, the gases are awful on 100%, there's no urine in the bag, the family has been told that it looks bad, and all you want to do is turn everything off, bathe the person you laughed with just a week ago for one last time, and cry. but you don't do any of that. you crank up the pressors, you push the furosemide, you cover the mottled legs as they turn color higher and higher. you suction, you fill and empty, you wipe, you open, you close.

    and then, just as fast as that, the code is over and everyone leaves the room. they ask the family to wait until you are ready. you clear away all the lines and the tubes, get the bloody chux off the floor and the linens in the basket, and get all of it with the vent and the pumps out of the room and out of sight down the hall in the utility room. then you bathe your patient one more time, do your best to erase the effects of days of failure and suffering, lay on fresh linens, and go get the family.

    then you all cry.
  14. by   nursel56
    Yes. Children who died never having a family to come and visit them, or outright rejected them because of their physical condtion.

    Close, long-married couples when one of them dies unexpectedly. I remember one darling couple who lost the wife during open reduction of an elbow fracture. This happened in November. In December a family member dropped by her gift to the nurses with the handwritten card she'd filled out ahead of time. That was a family practice clinic so we were like family to some of them. Husband looked so lost. He died a few months later.