The Patient I Failed - page 18

by nerdtonurse?

373,856 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
    You did not fail this patient the daughter and the doctor failed this patient. This is a beautiful story it breaks my heart also. I am a CNA who works in the hospice field, the doctor above all other should have gone by the living will. It is up to him.
  2. 0
    I also work in an ICU and see this same issue play out more times than I would like to count. I recently had a patient who's family was going through the same thing and did not want to let mother go, regardless of both the doctor's and nurses taking care of her that, telling the family that this would not be what she would have wanted. It's a sad situation that we as nurses face on a weekly basis and we have to provide the best care for these patients, while knowing deep down how miserable and in how much pain they must be in. Thank you for putting into words what we all feel.
  3. 0
    If those family members can't produce a POA then tough **** you go with the advanced directives.

    Grr.
    Last edit by dianah on May 12, '10 : Reason: Terms of Service
  4. 0
    What a very moving piece of work! You really should have this published!!!!
  5. 0
    Its is such a shame that so many nurses are so familiar with this scenario. Though modern healthcare has come so far as to let us keep people alive the way we do, people lose sight of if we should. We can, but should we. It breaks my heart.....as it breaks many of our hearts.
  6. 0
    Where I live, a Living Will is a Legal Document, to which we must abide by, no matter what the family has in mind for thier loved one. I feel for this patient who died a slow agonizing death, it is not fair. Always ask yourself "would I want this" when you are with your patients. Advocate for your patients, always!
  7. 0
    This is beautiful. Such a sad story but your writing is amazing:redpinkhe
  8. 1
    Thank you for the post. It was very moving. It is a situation that we hope we never incounter but as a nurse with 7 years of expericence I have delt with it several times. It can be heart breaking. I make it a point that with every pt that I admit that we discuss end of life requests. I do it in front of the family and am very specific in the converstation. I believe it doesn't do anyone any good to beat around the bush. I make a point of saying that I don't expect to need to use the information but it is very helpful to know that way we all (patient, family, and staff caring for that pt) understand exactly what are their wishes. I have had several newer nurses overhear my conversations and have questioned my frankness about the subject, and I explain that it is a hard thing to think about but it saves so much heart ache, regret, and sometimes fighting when we are upfront and direct. On a more personal note I have a father that wishes to be a DNR. And being the upfront nurse/daughter we have had long discussions about it. As soon as we were done I immediately told him to get in writing that that he needed to have the same discussion with my other siblings so that I'm not the mean child that wants to kill daddy. That he needed to be the one to discuss it with them and he needed to be as upfront and frank about it with them as he had been with me. End of life situations are hard, but lets face it with digity and grace and God forbid a smile that we can let our loved one meet our maker on their terms not ours.
    RyanSofie likes this.
  9. 0
    I agree about engaging patients and families in conversation regarding advanced directives when we are admitting them. Making a decision as important as DNR or specific wishes in the event of a terminal outcome should be done when the patient/family are not in a crisis situation. Emotions run high during terminal events and prevent the patient from recieving the care and comfort they need from their loved ones. We are in the business of life and promoting comfort , what better way than helping patients and families through the process of choosing the way they wish to be treated.
  10. 0
    I see that this an older article but recently popped up on my fb site.
    I haven't worked in ICU for 20 years but remember these stories with a stark emotionalism.
    So sorry for you.
    Agree with others that have told you that you did not fail this patient.


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