Did I participate in an unethical situation?

  1. I am worried that last week I participated in an unethical event. Here is the situation.
    At our facility, we have a, usually yearly, mock disaster. At our facility it is known as a code delta. Usually it is a staged mass casualty situation such as an interstate pile-up or bus wreck. Actual participants from local high schools etc. are the "actors."
    Well, last week was that time, but instead of the usual mass casualty type situation, our DES and administration thought they would be "with the current times" and have a smallpox scare, which qualifies, naturally, as a disaster. Here is the problem.
    We had kind of been expecting it to go down all day because our supervisor stayed really late and just acted strangely. Our ER was completely full, hallway beds too. A full arrest had just come in, a 55yo breast ca pt, we worked her for 45 minutes to no avail. The family was taking it really hard, especially the daughter. I had been in the resus. room with the family for 30 min. or longer trying to calm her and then stepped out to call organ donor people, which in our state is mandatory on all deaths, and get the death certificate going. The triage nurse had stepped off the unit for a moment when two people came to the triage window with dots painted on their faces and hands. Needless to say, I had the priviledge of triaging them. Our resus. room is also the resp. isolation room in our er. Our supervisor made us clear out a sick person from another room to the hallway, place the body and grieving family into it, and place the two actors in the resus. room. I was so angry about doing that that I had to leave the er and cry for 15 minutes before I could go back and face the family and my co-workers ( who also thought this sucked, however the family did not find out why their mother was moved to a smaller room on the other side of the er). Had this been a real situation or similar need for the room I totally would not have had a problem, as it was, I feel that what we did was cruel to the family and unethical. Am I wrong about this?
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  2. 47 Comments

  3. by   sunnygirl272
    WTF...i would be flaming livid...i mean, obviously, had it been real, there would have been no issue...shove the dead lady and her fam to a closet if need be.( sorry)...but this is pure unadulterated BS...how rude, mean, callous, cruel...(not you...) how inappropriate.....how awful that you had to do this...
  4. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    I'm just gonna follow sunny around the boards all day saying "ditto."

    *****

    Heather
  5. by   sunnygirl272
    Originally posted by OBNURSEHEATHER
    I'm just gonna follow sunny around the boards all day saying "ditto."

    *****

    Heather
    lmao....
  6. by   kids
    I second Heathers ditto. And add another WTF.

    And I would b**ch long & loud to somebody about the situation.
  7. by   dianthe1013
    That's crazy.

    My grandmother passed away last Monday after having been in baaaad shape for about a week. My aunt called us at 4am Monday morning and told us that she'd passed away. Of course, we all went to the hospital so some decisions could be made.

    If something like this had happened while we'd been there with my grandmother's body... Well, I don't know if I would have been angry, per se; maybe I was too much in shock for something like that to bother me.

    However...

    I have an aunt for whom "litigation" is a beautiful word. She'd have crawled up someone's ass, without a doubt. And she'd have brought her attorney along for the ride.

    I'm not surprised you were upset and furious. I would have been like, "Can't this freakin' wait?"

    Donna
  8. by   chartleypj
    I empathize with your situation. I agree it was a lousy thing to do to a dead patient and a grieving family. The thing about real life is, a crisis can't always wait for a more convenient time. The purpose of a mock disaster is to get the staff to deal with whatever is going on in their department at that moment AND address the crisis in an efficient, expiditious manner.

    Sincerely,
    Paula
  9. by   sunnygirl272
    Originally posted by chartleypj
    I empathize with your situation. I agree it was a lousy thing to do to a dead patient and a grieving family. The thing about real life is, a crisis can't always wait for a more convenient time. The purpose of a mock disaster is to get the staff to deal with whatever is going on in their department at that moment AND address the crisis in an efficient, expiditious manner.

    Sincerely,
    Paula
    i am certain that , as i posted .there would have been no issue had it been real...dioubt many people would've had problem with moving the grievers wherever needed, had it been real...
    everyone is well-aware that a crisis is inconvenient...

    this would be a wonderful lawsuit for the grievers to sue the hospital...
  10. by   Stargazer
    Drills should never supercede the needs of real, live patients or family experiencing an actual problem. Never. This should be written into your policy and procedure for drills.

    As others have pointed out, aside from the unnecessary cruelty, that is a lawsuit just waiting to happen.
  11. by   sunnygirl272
    Originally posted by Stargazer
    Drills should never supercede the needs of real, live patients or family experiencing an actual problem. Never. This should be written into your policy and procedure for drills.

    As others have pointed out, aside from the unnecessary cruelty, that is a lawsuit just waiting to happen.
    yeah..


    that's what i was tryin ' to say!!!!
  12. by   STEPHIE_RN_2_BE
    I dont think your dept's handling of that situation was unethical. for one, it gave all the staff a chance to practice for when a similar disaster does occur. and second, the family probably wasnt more concerned about the room change than they were about losing their loved one. They may not even remember the events that occurred after her death; they'll just be dealing with their loss. As long as you continued to be supportive and apologetic (for the inconvenience of changing rooms) you acted as a caring nurse!
  13. by   RainbowSkye
    Okay, I'm playing devil's advocate here, but I don't for the life of me understand why moving a loved one's body to another room for grieving for whatever reason could possibly be a lawsuit waiting to happen.
    I've worked in many facilities where it was routine to move a deceased loved one into different room to allow some time for the family while also allowing nursing staff to get the resuscitation room ready for another patient.
    I am sure that this family will remember the kindness of the nursing staff much more than the room the patient was in.
    I also agree that this kind of drill is to discover problems before the "real" event occurs so terrible things won't happen then. And you can't possibly do that unless you can mirror a real disaster as much as possible.
  14. by   Stargazer
    "Undue pain & suffering and intentional infliction of emotional distress" + Hospital corporation/deep pockets + greedy lawyer = lawsuit.

    We live in a very litigious society.

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