I can't stop thinking about this patient that the doctor failed.

  1. Heartache...absolute heartache. I won't go into the details due to patient privacy, but yesterday I had the most horrible experience. My patient was being grossly misdiagnosed and being discharged despite my frequent but respectful objections. The doctor involved was having a terrible situation at home, and my charge nurse and I believed her to be emotionally incapacitated. Our DON was contacted, and the dispute eventually was presented to our CEO. The doctor was replaced and we flew the patient to a specialist. I don't know how she is currently doing, but it was a 12 hour long process to get her there. I fear irreparable damage for her due to the misdiagnosis and delay of treatment. I'm personally a mess from the experience. I can't sleep tonight, and was assured by everyone involved that idid the right thing from the start of the shift by being an aggressive patient advocate. I fear for her. The thought that so much hinges on our actions is paralyzing me. I don't want to be a nurse anymore. I don't want to watch people succum to illness, lose their children, or have their lives shattered any more. Kudos to all who can deal with this better than I. May you all find the peace that eludes me.
  2. Visit JeneraterRN profile page

    About JeneraterRN

    Joined: Apr '11; Posts: 273; Likes: 657
    Acute care RN; from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in OB, Med/Surg, Ortho, ICU


  3. by   Anna Flaxis
    Maybe the doctor failed this patient, but YOU didn't.
  4. by   JeneraterRN
    Thank you. The family said they were fortunate to have me. I can't help but feel like there is something else I could have done.
  5. by   Anna Flaxis
    It's easy to feel like we didn't do enough. But from what you posted, it sounds to me like you did everything you could, and most importantly, you didn't give up. If the patient has a bad outcome, I don't see how anyone could blame it on you. Don't you dare blame yourself!
  6. by   JeneraterRN
    I'm sincerely trying not to do so. I think I'd feel better knowing her current status. I know her sister-in-law, but I don't want to bother her in this terrible time.
  7. by   rn/writer
    Quote from JeneraterRN
    Thank you. The family said they were fortunate to have me. I can't help but feel like there is something else I could have done.
    That's the voice of wishful thinking whispering in your ear. It really is difficult to be faced with our own limitations.

    Now, flip this around and think about the patient's likely outcome had you not gone to bat for her. A less aggressive nurse might not have stood up to the doc or involved the charge nurse or the DON. Another nurse might have stuck a toe in the water but worried more about getting in trouble than advocating for a patient who was failing.

    You are not all-powerful (hate to break it to you, but none of us is), but you did what you could under the circumstances. If you throw up your hands in frustration and despair and quit your job, who will be there to insist on a certain standard of care? Who will set an example for the timid nurses who are afraid (or don't know how) to be a squeaky wheel for someone who really needs one?

    Yes, this is a big responsibility, but you handled it well.

    Please, give your emotions a couple of days to settle down. They must be a little raw right now.

    Whatever chance your patient has came from your courage and your refusal to be backed off. You did well!
    Last edit by rn/writer on Jan 8, '12
  8. by   JeneraterRN
    Your comments (both of you) have brought me to tears. It's good, maybe I can cry it out and get it out of my system. Thank you, truly, your words help a great deal.
  9. by   SuesquatchRN
    What more could you have done? She was being misdiagnosed and wrongfully discharged. You fought for her, all the way up the food chain, and won a victory that may well be the difference between her recovering or not.

    Hugs, Jen.
  10. by   blondy2061h
    I've had nights like that, one which still haunts me even though I know deep inside that I did everything I could. You sound like an excellent nurse who did what it took to advocate for her patient. I'd be honored to have you care for my family member.
  11. by   Kittypower123
    You did everything right - don't beat yourself up. Remember - it hurts because you care and the best nurses care.
  12. by   BlueDevil,DNP
    People are human and mistakes happen. Don't lose sleep over it.
  13. by   PMFB-RN
    Kudos to you! Sounds like you did a fine job. Many people scoff when I say that an RNs compensation is way out of wack with our level of responsibility but this story illustrates exactly what I am talking about.
    I hope you stay in nursing. Strong patient advocates are exactly what we and our patients need. Too many nurses do nothing more than cover their butt with "the physician is aware" and go back to gossiping or facebooking.
  14. by   tokmom
    I had a situation like yours, but the outcome wasn't pretty. The pt coded just as extra help had come through the door. He was only there because two of us overode the attending and called the House Super who got the chief of staff involved. I was sick to my stomach. We went from the NM all the way to the chief of staff and it still didn't turn out well. I cried all the way home and couldn't even talk about it for a solid week without bursting into tears.

    The good news is the chief of staff changed processes because of us being outspoken.

    Gee, I can't really add more. It's all been said. You climbed the food chain. Many nurses are afraid to do so. Keep nursing. We need people like you. You did all you could which was A LOT.