The Patient I Failed - page 16

by nerdtonurse?

373,025 Views | 321 Comments

She knew what she wanted. She'd watched her husband of 52 years die on a vent, and followed his wishes to remain a full code. But she knew that was not what she wanted for herself. So, she wrote a Living Will, had it... Read More


  1. 0
    unfortunately, this happens all the time.
  2. 0
    this article is so true to what happens when a family doest respect the wishs of their loved ones, so many people are hurt by the actions of one or two that just cant let go. in the end it tears the family apart and makes the medical staff go against what we are taught and trained to do in the end breaking everyones hearts.
  3. 0
    I disagree vehemently with the usage of comparing human beings to "beloved pets". We put pets down because they are PETS. Humans are not to be put down. Obviously this woman's time was nearing an end and a DNR was appropriate, but comparing DNRS to euthanasia is dangerous. I know that had my pet had the same injuries my husband received from a drunk driver, my pet would be put down. THANK GOD my husband was not. I know there are some ignorant people who think he'd be better off dead than deal with a spinal cord injury, including people in the medical field. He disagrees! Luckily euthanasia is still illegal... for now. Don't let stories like this cloud your judgement about euthanasia (which is what happens to PETS, not humans)
  4. 0
    Having worked with cancer patients and their familes for a number of years, I have seen this same scenario carried out on family/friends who did not wish to be cared for in this manner. It is indeed a heart breaker and we all need to view this as a reminder for ourselves and others to have these sometimes very difficult conversations with our family and friends as well as our lawyers and physicians, so they will know our wishes and will comply with them. Please...have that conversation this weekend! We never know what is in store for tomorrow...
  5. 0
    I agree, this was beautifully written. What I don't understand is how you feel that you personally failed the woman in the story. As a nurse, you are a patient advocate and you are also bound to the laws that, let's face it, bind us in many ways. Had you carried out the wishes of this woman, you would have surely lost your license. I can almost promise that she wouldn't have wanted you to do that. It was her daughter who clearly failed her, for letting her suffer while knowing what her mother had requested. There is nothing you could have done differently. The fact that you apologized to her was probably gratifying and soothing for your patient.
  6. 1
    Yes, I agree it is nicely written. However the nurse in me wonders if anyone ever really stood up for this patient? She had a living will which is a legal document that was ignored by the family, nursing and the medical staff. Does this facility not have an ethics committee or a risk management department? Were they not concerned about the legal issues the other family members could raise such as assault charges on the staff? The author only speaks of the one daugheter but clearly there are other family members involved. We as nurses must stand up for the patient especially when they cannot protect themselves from harm, and let's make no mistake that harm did occur here. Sometimes being a patient's advocate means you stand a hard fast line against those who would do harm to those whose care we have been entrusted to. I commend the author for her caretaking abilities as the life of this woman slipped away. The bigger problem is why do we fear death so? Why do we in the medical field feel we have failed when our patients die? We say things like we lost her or she expired, like we could have renewed her life if only we had sent the payment on time. The health care system is what ultimatelty failed this woman and the author. We have built up expectations that we can not live up to. Life and death is not really in our hands as much as we like to think it is, we are only instruments used by whatever higher being you belive in. Let's face it all of us have a limited time on this earth we should accept death as we except birth, a part of life.
    Geekafiednurse likes this.
  7. 0
    Not only as a nurse, but also as a person who respects the right to choice, laws need to be passed requiring physicians to follow advance directives, regardless of family objections. Why, as a society, do we care more for the suffering of animals than we do our family and friends? Preserving life, for the mere sake of ...making oneself feel better, without regard for the pain and suffering of the dying, only elevates this injustice to an unforgivable sin. It is time for a call to all nurses and all compassionate people to bring an end to the indignity and suffering of the dying. It is time to cry out and let society know our fellow human beings deserve a minimum of compassion shown to our beloved pet.
  8. 0
    I think you are writing about my grandmother. Except for the part about her husband of 52 years. My grandparents made it to 60 and he did not have a full code/ vent death.
    My uncle found my grandmother, passed out on the floor. He called 911, and wouldn't you know it, an EMT was on his street with the radio on and responded within 2 minutes. Grandma was on the vent when I got there. It was agonizing to me because I had been her primary caretaker for about 4 months, before she moved into my uncle's home one week before. I knew what she wanted. Now I had to try to convince the family.
    Thank God for our nurses. They were great, every single one of them. And death did come, with dignity, more than 36 hours after getting off that d### vent. What a fight. We won.
  9. 1
    I'm really bothered by the statement "Not eligible for a DNR". Oncology nurse here. I deal with this subject A LOT. I am eligible for a DNR if i so decide. A patient's health status has nothing to do with their choice to decline CPR or other code measures. Seems like alot of ppl dropped the ball on patient advocacy in this case.
    Another thing that bothers me is "The MD refused to terminate feedings but I held them" if this patient had a pre-feeding residual over 200 and the MD wouldn't give me the order to hold the feeding, I would be calling my house supervisor and she could give that feeding if she felt that was prudent. AND If this patient had "no digestion occuring"; a paralytic ileus is a medical emergency and any doctor who valued their license would make that patient NPO rather than drown them in Jevity.
    I'm not saying this isn't a sad story...it really really is. Somebody please tell me if I'm wrong, because this is the standard I've been taught to practice at.
    Is this story even real? I hope none of my loved ones end up in the care of this hospital.
    Geekafiednurse likes this.
  10. 0
    You did not fail your patient, her family did. This type of thing happens every day, and although sickening, there's little that can be done aside from comfort. That's where we do not fail those who fail their own.


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