Bizarre Reactions to Death - page 4

I was trying to think of a gentle, positive, and non-offensive way to start this thread, but... it's true. I've witnessed some really bizarre reactions to patient's deaths: by family, by staff, by... Read More

  1. by   LilgirlRN
    Thank you ctyler
  2. by   sandgroper
    My father died last year after a short illness. My brothers and sisters and I (9 of us) gathered at his bedside in the hours before his death (only palliative care now) and proceeded to have a great time telling jokes and ribbing each other (and our dad who was comatose) because we always do this when we get together.

    The RN that was caring for him was obviously uneasy with these goings-on. (Thinking at the time, I had never seen this behaviour in my career either) He entered the room on a couple of occasions and very nervously counted his pulse and respirations. When I left the room for a break I checked the charts and found he hadn't entered the data.

    I don't know who he was checking on, us or our dad!
  3. by   mario_ragucci
    Originally posted by hapeewendy
    had a patient pass away and the family came in with a digital camera and it was an inpromptu photo shoot complete with the deceased being posed in various ways , family at the bedside beside her... I'm extremely openminded but even that messed me up for the shift... I thought I wouldnt wanna be the one developing those shots!
    I think it's customary to allow recorded images of the dead. Wendy, I would not want that for myself, and fear it being done to me if I ever died. It would be the most embarrassing moment.

    Perhaps said person wanted to share the images he saw. Think about it: for some, respecting the living is absent! I don't go for it. But I have seen some older photographs of funeral pics of the dead laid out. But not posed with the deceased. Lol, that is an way out there on Pluto if you ask me.

    Also, Wendy, if they used a digital camera, the shots are NOT developed. Developing is a process involving chemicals, and is absent in digital images. Lol!:kiss
  4. by   hapeewendy
    well truth be told I cant remember if it was a digital camera or the old flash thingamajig
    I was looking up digital cameras on the net when I typed that , but come to think of it yeah that would make sense!

    and I've seen people take pics of a person when in the coffin or what have you but truthfully as openminded as I am it gives me the willies....
    and dont even think about posing me in any weird positions when I'm "gone".... this isnt weekend at bernies for goodness sake!
  5. by   Stargazer
    sandgroper, not to worry--your family sounds exactly like mine! When my dad was hospitalized a few months ago, we all gathered in his room, sitting on the floor and the windowsill because there weren't enough chairs, teasing my dad (especially when he kept falling asleep mid-sentence because of the narcs he was getting) and cracking jokes like we always do. The first caregiver who came in the room was one of those uptight, by-the-book type nurses who favored us with a few tight smiles and then informed us that visitors couldn't use the pt bathroom (even though my dad had a Foley in and wouldn't be using the BR for at least 24 hours). (We ignored her and continued to use it for the rest of my dad's stay.)

    All the rest of the CNA's, RNs and LPNs who came in the room would listen to us for a few minutes and then get right into it, teasing my dad and us.

    We crack sarcastic jokes whenever we're together--celebrations, funerals, whenever. People with a sense of humor think we're hilarious, and people who don't think we're weird and scary and intimidating. That first nurse is probably on The Gestapo Nurses' BB somewhere right now posting about this terribly rude, disrespectful, disruptive family she had to deal with once. <shrug> Oh, well.
  6. by   Jay-Jay
    My very first assignment as a community nurse...I accompanied this gentleman home in the ambulance, so he could die at home. Well 45 minutes after he got home, he breathed his last, lying cradled in his wife's arms.

    The women in the family went ballisitic!! The wife was shouting at me: YOU'RE A NURSE... WHY DIDN'T YOU DO SOMETHING?? (Of course, he was a no-code!) The daughter went into such a rage that her brothers had to physically restrain her. (They were Italian, by the way, and there are times when they DO act like...well, Italians.)

    I was scared half to death, but still somehow managed to hang onto my composure. Once the family had settled down a bit, and I had notified the appropriate people, I told them how my father-in-law had passed away at the Christmas dinner table, and how we felt that he had chosen that time and place to die, in his own home rather than the nursing home, surrounded by loved ones. That story helped a lot, and the wife eventually apologized to me for her outburst.

    That assignment was a real baptism of fire, no question about it!
  7. by   cargal
    Great save Jay-Jay! :chuckle
  8. by   Allison S.
    Regarding photography:

    In the early days of photography in this country, people didn't own their own cameras and photographers would travel the country to take family portraits. It was not uncommon for families to save the winter's dead so that they could have the once in a lifetime (or something like that) experience of having their portrait made.

    I guess that this, like most things in our melting pot culture, just depends on your perspective.
  9. by   hapeewendy
    Allison - I do respect each culture and their practices...Infact the family of this patient sent me a lovely thank you card expressing their gratitude of my support in their loved ones last days...
    the thing that tripped me out a little was the posing, guess you had to be there...
    but surely we are all allowed to have feelings or opinions about such practices... my feelings or opinions never got in the way of the care I gave that patient, nor should anyones
    but we are allowed to disucss among ourselves,in confidential manner, respectfully of course so as not to offend, things that we experience as nurses and people...
  10. by   mario_ragucci
    And Wendy, I want you to absolutely know that I was joking with you about the correction in terminology you made re: camera developing. i wanted to have something to say to you, because I think your a wonderful person. You know that all ready, and probably don't need me to chime in with frivilous stuff. I'm sorry :-(
  11. by   hapeewendy
    haha mario I was referring my response to allison
    I laughed my butt off with your response!!
    well not literally off , but you get the point!!!
    you and I share the same fear about our loved ones propping us up and posing us post mortem ..which always makes for a joke or two
    no worries
  12. by   colleen10
    Hi Stargazer,

    Just wanted you to know that my family sounds a lot like yours. We have the weirdest sense of humor.

    God forbid you ever get sick or die in our family because we are with out mercy.
  13. by   ruffhouser
    When I was growing up, we had neighbors who were from Lithuania. They were showing me some of their pictures. Apparently it was their family custom to take a family picture with the deceased. The deceased member of the family would be in their coffin. The coffin would be vertical (to give the effect of the deceased standing), and all of the family would gather around the coffin for the picture. I remember this to this day. Really freaked me out as a kid.

    Merry CHRISTmas!