Death of Spouse


I recently lost my husband. He had a strong cardiac history. MI x 2, 5 vessell bypass 7 years ago. Was sitting and talking to me, mid-sentence he arrested. I did CPR while family called 911. I had his pulse back and was doing rescue breathing when EMS arrived. Was so shocked they didn't bring an AED/ambu bag, oxygen or anything into the house. Loaded him into the ambulance and sat in the road intubating for 15 minutes with the hospital 2 minutes away. No CPR was ever done, yet they documented asystole. At the hospital, I wasn't allowed to be with my husband during resuscitation despite asking many times. We were married 24 years and I needed to be there for him (and me). How do I handle this and these feelings?

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

164 Articles; 21,189 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Oh my gosh...I am so very sorry for your loss. I would contact the hospital pt affairs dept and see if you can talk with physician in charge of the code.

Also, maybe a grief support group?


37 Posts

Thank you. I've been a nurse for 27 years and am so taken aback. In shock really. Help me to understand as I'm not an ER nurse, why in the ER would he have been defibrillated multiple times while in asystole? I'm just not processing this well.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

I am so sorry!!!!!!!!!!

It is impossible to know details without seeing the strips, monitor and code sheet. What appears to be asystole might be fine v-fib so giving epi and defib would be appropriate. He may have had several different rhythms intermittently that were shockable but not survivable rhythms. What the medics did or didn't do and why we just can't make an assessment with out being there.....there are protocols that must be followed...even 2 mins away.

Not many hospitals do not allow families in the room during resuscitative efforts......especially in the emergency room as it is a crowd control issue. There simply isn't room and most families wold have little understanding of the controlled chaos that ensues. Between the EMT's/paramedics, firefighters, respiratory, x ray, lab, ED techs, RN's and staff.....evaluating, undressing, placing on monitors, equipment,getting blood and continuing the code...there just isn't room or time initially.

I am truly sorry for your has to be so difficult for you...your husband "knew" you were there. I have no magic words to help you and I'm sorry seems so empty. 24 years of being married is a longtime.

I think you need to let yourself grieve....cry, scream, be angry....surround yourself with friends and family who love you. Only time can lessen the pain.

I am so have my prayers and good thoughts. ((HUGS))


284 Posts

I could not have explained this better than Esme12. KimRN, I am so incredibly sorry you had to go through that. You were definitely there for him, fighting for him. Often our training flies out the window when it comes to caring for our loved ones but it sounds like you were able to maintain your composure in order to give your husband the best chance at surviving. That takes incredible courage and strength.

I cannot speak to the actions of the medics on-scene because I was not there of course. I recently lost my father very suddenly and traumatically and was left with many questions for the paramedics, hospital and for my non-medical family that was there. I was able to speak to the supervisor of the ambulance crew and received a copy of their report, also contacted the M.E. for a full tox report and obtained the ER report from his recent visits to the ER. It took a lot of time and energy but I felt it was the only way I could get closure. It was/is very difficult to deal with but personally, I did take comfort in having my questions answered. I wish you could have been part of their resuscitation efforts. I have always been in support of family presence. Again, so very sorry for your loss. No words.