The Patient I Failed - page 26

by nerdtonurse? | 375,418 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
    I have been in this same situation over and over again, and I feel like the daughter should have charges pressed againist her for cruelity againist the elderly!!! I know that sounds harsh, but if the patients wishes are known and in writing, it should not be up to a family member to veto them... These patients actually start decomposing while there still techinally alive... There skin breaks due to 3rd spacing edema and pressure sores!!! It is a horrible way to died.... I love my job, but these cases make me rethink my chosen career!!!!
  2. 2
    trying to prolong someone else's life only prolong that someone else's agony.
    Soozul and gvernz like this.
  3. 1
    this is exactly why I quit the medical ICU after 6 months. I didn't feel that prolonging death and suffering was my calling.
    Soozul likes this.
  4. 1
    It always make me so angry that one person would go against the final wishes of another because they are to weak to let go. How can they feel like they did everything possible when they have violated the person on every possible level? Thank you for putting into words what so many of us nurses have to deal with on a daily basis. There was no failure on your part only selfish cruelty on the other person part. I only hope her end of life experience goes against every thing she wants and that she is cognitively aware enough to know it, but physically and verbally incapable to do anything about it.
    Soozul likes this.
  5. 1
    You didn't fail this patient, the daughter failed her Mom...You did your job...Huggggsss to you...
    Soozul likes this.
  6. 1
    Sometimes it is guilt and selfishness that motivates family members to act the way they do. Guilt, because they think that by trying to sustain a dying mother's life makes them feel better about themselves, absolves them from " not doing anything for their mother." I'd say we see it happen a lot. Selfishness because the intent is to show everybody that she is doing everything for her mother or in another tangent, it could be that the daughter is not willing to let go so she could still have her mother by her side. It is just sad, sad situation.
    Soozul likes this.
  7. 0
    There was a time when I was working in ICU way back when ...that we had family members who can't afford to pay for mechanical ventilators and they were willing to take turns ambubagging while the nurses are taking turns doing CPR until a loved one arrives or until patient's heart rate showed asystole and the doctor would pronounce the patient dead. I am not kidding!!!! That is probably why I had back issues now, 14-15 years later.

    Cultural diversity also plays a significant part in these situations. In some cultures, DNR and ending life sustaining measures are frowned upon. Dying with dignity vs. dying a painful death. In some cultures, a family member who decides to end artificial life sustaining measures is considered disrespectful and will be judged by elders and other people.
  8. 0
    I am crying as I read this article. I see this day in and out on my unit. What a tradegy that a living will is useless if one child protests and does not agree. You did not fail this patient, the daughter and the Doctor failed this patient. The doctor should have took the bull by the horns and honored this patients wishes from the get go , this should have never happened. God Bless you for taking such good care of this patient. I hope that other Nurses reading your story will be a stronger advocate in the future when it comes to end of life issues. You did the best you could, you are an angel here on earth
  9. 0
    This happens so often and not only are the children (relatives) but the facility and the doctors and some nurses to blame. 18ths ago I started my postgrad in an aged care facility and as we were taught about Advance Health Directives (living wills) I enquired how many of the residence know about these. I did a survey and 80% didn't know about these documents, when I wanted to pursue this subject by educating the residents I was immediately discouraged. This is a brillant message nerdtonurse? wrote and I have to agree you did all you could do. I think as nurses we have alot to do to educate the community and health professionals. We are the patients advocate especially when they can't talk for themselves. Lorraine
  10. 0
    I deal with this everyday working in an ICU, I think it is the hardest part about being a nurse in the ICU setting. You don't say whether ethics was called. People need education on what Health Care Proxy, Living Will and DNR really mean and it should start in High School. So sorry for this nurse, know what you went through and it is hard not to feel like we fail them.


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