It shouldn't have happened this way....

  1. Okay, so I work part time with hospice. I like it. It's a nice break from feeling like I'm torturing souls their last days on earth up in ICU because their family of freeloaders are all living off their granddad's check....

    Get a call from the hospital, one of our inpatients has died. It was expected, the poor woman was eat up with cancer, and threw a massive CVA from it. After being admitted for the CVA, family agreed to hospice. Pt has expressive aphasia....but I had her as a patient in ICU, and she recognized me when I came into the room, because she started crying and trying to talk. Did the PRN visit, adjusted a few meds, held her hand and talked to her. She kept throwing CVAs over the weekend and finally she died this morning.

    I walk into the room, and I swear I wanted to go back out and choke the living daylights out of someone. Her BP had plummeted at 4am....and nobody called the family, nobody'd even called us. She's dead in the bed, and you can tell she was trying to crawl out of the bed, and her callbell was in the chair beside the bed...out of her reach. She was reaching over the rail, her eyes were still open and she was looking at the door. That woman was trying to call for help, for someone to hold her hand while she died, call her family, something, and the callbell was out of reach. She was stone cold, and rigor had set in. She'd been dead for hours.

    I just closed the door, sat down by the bed and held her hand. I'd made all of our promises to her...we'd do everything we could to keep her from hurting, keep her from being scared, we'd be there when she needed us. Nothing happened on that floor last night -- no codes, nothing exciting that would explain why nobody checked on a dying hospice patient for hours -- nobody called her husband or children so they could come and be with her.

    She died in the dark, alone.

    What the heck is wrong with people?
  2. Visit nerdtonurse? profile page

    About nerdtonurse?

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 2,117; Likes: 8,408
    ICU, RN/BSN; from US
    Specialty: ICU, telemetry


  3. by   leslie :-D
    this warrants a write-up.
    whoever took her bp at 4am, should've followed through with something.
    and, call bell out of reach?

    nerd, i would seriously consider seeing wth happened here.
    that poor woman...truly, i'm sickened.

  4. by   annacnatorn
    This story, makes me want to cry.
    I deleted the balance of my comment for fear of being sad, really. NerdtoNurse...Sending you major hugs! You, are a person I would want to work along side and consider myself blessed!
  5. by   Hospice Nurse LPN
    That just breaks my heart. I agree w/ Leslie, I would follow up on this. There is no excuse for that.
  6. by   westieluv
    I can't believe that a professional nurse or CNA, or whoever it was who took that 4 am BP didn't take action when they saw how it had plummeted. This is total negligence, as far as I can tell by what you have told us here. None of this had to happen the way it did. It is sad beyond words. One of our jobs in hospice is to let people die the way that they want to inasmuch as that is possible. Someone took that opportunity away from your hospice and, much more importantly, from that poor woman.
  7. by   nerdtonurse?
    My hospice boss is out of town, but we will be discussing it the minute she gets back. While our hospice is affiliated with the hospital, when I'm working as a hospice nurse, I'm not supposed to put on my hospital employee hat -- I can access the write up area because I work in ICU, not because I work in hospice. Believe me, I WILL be discussing this with my boss, and she's not gonna be happy with these folks...

    It just breaks my heart. I called the family, and it was expected, but I just feel horrible for the patient. The family doesn't know the circumstances of the death.

    Note to self: never, ever let mom or dad be a patient at my hospital...
  8. by   exnavygirl-RN
    Breaks my heart.
  9. by   achot chavi
    I am so sorry - there arent words for this, All I can do is take your story and bring it to my staff as a lesson for us all. I have long since learned that what goes on by you , goes on (or could) by me.
    I hope in her memory, no one else has to die seeking comfort.
    Thanks for sharing
  10. by   WSteven1
    Sending positive/loving energy your are right, it should NOT have happened this way...that lady should have been able to pass with pride and dignity!
  11. by   Psychtrish39
    That is inexcusable and very sad.. I would take it up the chain.. that is not dying with dignity....heaven help that lady who died alone.... and the nurse was negiligent in not calling both hospice and the family and she should have been checking on her more often... shame on them for allowing that woman to die that way.. hugs to you Nerd....
    Last edit by Psychtrish39 on Oct 5, '11 : Reason: missing word
  12. by   needshaldol
    Let us not forget that the family KNEW she was dying. Why was she in ICU? Maybe the family wanted everything done so that they could reap some monetary rewards still? If they had agreed to end of life with dignity with comfort care then she would have been either home, or in a different part of the hospital in a private room with family able to be present 100%.
  13. by   needshaldol
    Oh, I re-read and it appears she was not in ICU. Family ought to have been there already, or called. Sad.
  14. by   nerdtonurse?
    I've been worried to death about our other inpatient hospice patients....most of them can't tell us what's going on, and I'm scared now that they're just left to their own devices until right before we and family start showing up --- fast linen/brief change, pain meds given, etc. The next day I work and we have an inpatient, I'm going over the records with a magnifying glass rather than believe what they're telling me that they are doing. including interrogating the Pyxis to see what's actually being given and when.

    If you have inpatient hospice folks in the hospital, please, please make sure they're being looked after. This was the one place I thought they'd be safe and looked after. Not anymore....