What is the worst thing you've witnessed as an oncology nurse? - page 2

HI, you might recognize me from such posts as; "whats is like to be an oncology nurse" and "whats the worst thing you have seen in the burn unit" Anyhow, i am curious to know what the worst... Read More

  1. by   I_Love_Donuts
    A 17 year old boy weeping blood...he died a few min. later...That day was awfull...
  2. by   mattsmom81
    Erosion of the innominate artery into the airway and the patient drowning in her own blood. Never forget it. Nothing we could do. But it felt horrid trying to suction the blood while she died. I felt so helpless.
  3. by   laurakoko
    I had seen a 28 year old patient die of esophageal CA, he was such a wonderful person. He was married only one year before his dx, and his wife was 39 weeks pregnant. All he wanted was to hold his newborn in his arms and meet her before he died. He hung one for weeks for this hope. He just wanted to see her face, and tell her he loved her. He died 2 days before his daughter was born. I will never forget that. It was trully awful. I still cry to think about it.
  4. by   TweetiePieRN
    Quote from laurakoko
    I had seen a 28 year old patient die of esophageal CA, he was such a wonderful person. He was married only one year before his dx, and his wife was 39 weeks pregnant. All he wanted was to hold his newborn in his arms and meet her before he died. He hung one for weeks for this hope. He just wanted to see her face, and tell her he loved her. He died 2 days before his daughter was born. I will never forget that. It was trully awful. I still cry to think about it.
    HOW SAD! We are currently having some really sad situations on our floor recently. One is a young mother with 3 kids under the age of 5...terminal with mets everywhere. She just learned she had cancer about a month ago.

    The other is a sweet woman in her 40s who is also terminal. I saw her go from completely healthy looking...to deathbed looking. Today was rough! Sometimes you gotta cry and grieve for these patients and have some closure.
  5. by   mattsmom81
    Yes it is sadder when they are young...life isn't fair sometimes is it. I cry with them and their loved ones. Which is why I'm NOT good with pedis...I lose it with dying kiddos.
  6. by   Daysleeper
    I've been an inpatient oncology nurse for 4 years. The worst thing I ever saw was in my first year of nursing. The patient had some type of gynecological cancer and had fistulas throughout the vaginal/urinary/rectal area. Due to poor living conditions, she presented to the hospital with maggots infesting her vulvular area. She was admitted for terminal care and the doctor told us that it would cause more pain to try and get rid of the maggots than to just leave them there. It was AWFUL.

    The saddest thing I ever experienced was a 30 year old who believed in faith healings and was convinced that his testicular cancer was cured. He could have been saved with another round of chemo and the doctor made several phone calls and mailed several letters to his home to convince him of that but in the end, he refused and died a few months later, leaving a wife and one year old behind.
  7. by   Chibi Baka
    The saddest thing I ever experienced was a 30 year old who believed in faith healings and was convinced that his testicular cancer was cured. He could have been saved with another round of chemo and the doctor made several phone calls and mailed several letters to his home to convince him of that but in the end, he refused and died a few months later, leaving a wife and one year old behind.

    I find that especially horrible...faith is a wonderful thing, but many of these people who promote faith healing(the "healers" themselves mainly)....they dont know what it can do to people.
  8. by   m&ms mom
    I think that seeing the young one's die is very difficult, especially when they are around your age or the age of your spouse and your realize how easily it could be you in that situation. It's heartbreaking!


    I also think it's hard when the patient has come to terms with their cancer being terminal but the doctors persuade them to try more chemo or have surgical procedures that makes the remaining time terrible. Sometimes it's better to have quality of life over quantity of life.
  9. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from m&ms mom

    I also think it's hard when the patient has come to terms with their cancer being terminal but the doctors persuade them to try more chemo or have surgical procedures that makes the remaining time terrible. Sometimes it's better to have quality of life over quantity of life.
    THAT'S what i have the problems with too; when mds just don't know when to let it be...it makes for horrible time remaining, often in the hospital and not at home, where they should be. :angryfire
  10. by   mattsmom81
    I lost a lovely patient to a long battle with cancer. The doctor was talking to the family after she passed and I heard him say angrily "She died because she gave up on me. I was saving her til she gave up on me." I still can't believe someone would inflate their own ego when they should be consoling a grieving family. This is the worst type of God complex a doctor can have IMO.

    I think we've all seen desperate, futile, expensive procedures urged onto indecisive patients... which only caused the suffering patient to suffer more the last months of their life....very sad.
  11. by   Ted
    During my modest 7 1/2 years as an oncology nurse, I've seen lots and lots and lots of "worst things" that violently tugged at my heart strings. Young people dying and people dying with uncontrolled pain probably are the worst situations witnessed. People dying as they seem to be totally aware of their impending deaths AND are totally scared of dying is profoundly sad to me too.

    I've seen a lot of people die and witnessing such an event continues to be both humbling and sad for me. On the positive side, people who die with confidence and at peace with life and their impending death brings a lot of hope to my heart. I've witnessed many such deaths. To my weary heart, it brings hope that death can be very peaceful and that there just might be some kind of continuation of life after death.

    Ted
  12. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from efiebke

    I've seen a lot of people die and witnessing such an event continues to be both humbling and sad for me. On the positive side, people who die with confidence and at peace with life and their impending death brings a lot of hope to my heart. I've witnessed many such deaths. To my weary heart, it brings hope that death can be very peaceful and that there just might be some kind of continuation of life after death.

    Ted
    i so agree with you ted. i've seen the peaceful and not so peaceful...but seeing the transition as it should be, you can almost see where they're going. and yes, i 100% believe that it is a continuum, as i've had a couple of my long term patients come back to let me know they were ok.... , as well as others that have left this life. all that leave this earth are in good shape.
  13. by   Chibi Baka
    people dying with uncontrolled pain probably are the worst situations witnessed. People dying as they seem to be totally aware of their impending deaths AND are totally scared of dying is profoundly sad to me too.

    I agree, people in agony and fear in their last moments of life has to be extremely hard to see...

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