Should a pregnant patient be in same room with patient getting chemo?

  1. 1
    Hi everyone this is my first post!

    I am an RN on a med-surg floor. The other day the ER transferred a patient up to us. She was suffering from Hyperemesis (excessive vomiting).

    I saw that she was two months pregnant. The other bed was to be filled in the early afternoon by a woman who would be getting chemo treatments bedside. I called the Nursing Supervisor and Admissions to voice a concern that I didn't think my patient should be in the same room as the woman coming up later on. I also talked to the Nurse coming on in the new shift and they all agreed with me. The Doctor put an order in for her to be moved to the Maternity floor which at the time had no empty beds, but said they would.
    I then told my Supervisor about it before I left and she became snide and snarky and said to me, why does she need to be moved? Did you learn something in Nursing school that I didn't?!? I was taken back but calmly explained that my concern was should there be an accident of any kind with the chemo bags etc and also they would be using same toilet, could be in chemo patients urine etc.
    I was just trying to advocate for my patient.

    I would really like to know from any Oncology or Maternity Nurses or anyone who might know, if my concerns were justified.
    Could you let me know in a way that I could go back to my Supervisor and back my actions up?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks all!
    Dianacabana likes this.
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  4. 8 Comments so far...

  5. 2
    I'm surprised that anyone would consider putting a pregnant woman in the same room with someone receiving chemo, especially when the expectant mother is still in her first trimester! This is when the vast majority of birth defects occur, and ANY exposure to the drugs used in chemotherapy could be devastating to her fetus. Everyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of fetal development knows this.........what on earth was your supervisor thinking??

    BTW, I've been a geriatric nurse for most of my career, but I've worked in maternity care as well as med/surg, and I would have done EXACTLY as you did.
  6. 0
    I Got to look this up.
    I think the concern should be more for the patient receiving the chemo. if it is established that there is no risk for the patients (both) then it is okay to have them together. chemo patients do not really pose any risk to an unborn child. Can we get an expert opinion?
    You did the right thing on the first case
  7. 0
    Also, I will advice you to do some research of your own on this issue
  8. 5
    There's no way I'd be okay with them sharing a room. Chemotherapy kills rapidly dividing cells. Embryonic tissue is rapidly dividing. Chemo therapy is constantly being excreted by this patient- in her expirations, urine, feces, sweat. I'm guessing they're also sharing a bathroom? Further, God forbid something happened and the chemo spilled or leaked.

    We don't let pregnant nurses give chemo.

    Have I ranted lately about how uncivil I think semi-private rooms are?

    Good job advocating for your patients.
  9. 1
    Exactly. If a pregnant RN can't handle chemotx, why the H*#$ would they put a pregnant woman in with a chemo pt????
    TNgirl2010 likes this.
  10. 0
    No way. They share a bathroom and chemo is excreted in the urine and feces. They should have just switched patients around. We don't let pregnant mom's so much as change a chemo diaper on their own child. Why take the risk.
  11. 0
    Guys.
    As an oncology nurse- nope. There is no- no contact with chemo or excretions. Yes we have pregnant nurses giving chemo. We have safety features- that allow for NO contact with chemo drugs. I don't have a problem if a nurse who is pregnant/trying to get to ask not to give chemo. However- OSHA has made giving chemo safe. Even if I wanted to- I can't imagine chemo spill. We use Phaseal and the clave system. No way no how do I come in contact with chemo. If you're not doing chemo on a daily basis, you don't know. Your risk for C.diff and MRSA are far greater. Wear gloves. You would do that anyway. I don't touch urine/stool/blood. Sorry. Just don't. Giving chemo? All set.
  12. 0
    A bit off-topic but I was amazed to see that the notorious drug Thalidomide is in use in oncology in cases of myeloma.

    Understandably our pregnant nurses won't go near the stuff.


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