Need help dealing with situation

  1. Hey guys

    To start with, I know in school the instructors taught us not to get too involved with a patient, unfortunately I did. He was close to my age, only 5 years and we got along great. He had frequent admissions, and since I spent a long time in my childhood hospitalized I could relate. Often during his admissions I would bring DVDs or video games to work for him to pass the time.

    I transferred units to the MICU, and he was admitted progressed to ARDS and died on the oscillator. The situation is this, his father is repeatedly calling my unit, when I am not there trying to get my home number. He told my charge nurse tonight that he had googled my name, but was unable to find my contact information, and wondered if she would give him my home number. She refused, I gotta admit I'm not sure how to respond. I don't regret befriending the patient, it's tough to be the only teenager on an adult unit. However, I have grieved the loss of my friend and moved on, I'm just not real sure how to respond to his dad. I've never had a family member try so hard to contact me like this.

    Any advice???
    Thanks
  2. Visit Nurseboy1 profile page

    About Nurseboy1, MSN, NP

    Joined: Mar '04; Posts: 489; Likes: 243
    Cardiac ICU; from US
    Specialty: 12 year(s) of experience in MICU, SICU, CICU

    14 Comments

  3. by   kat911
    Have you talked to dad at all? It is possible he just wants to thank you for what you did for his son. Call him from a phone at work and find out what the situation is then you can decide if the contact is appropriate or not.
  4. by   TazziRN
    What Kat said. Maybe even meet with him for coffee or something, if you think it's safe. Whatever you do, do NOT give out your home number. It sounds like he may have latched onto you.
  5. by   JoeyDog
    I would not give him your personal info not a smart idea. If you would like to talk with him I agree that you should only call from a phone at the hospital. Then you can see why he wants to talk to you so badly. I would also not meet with him, to me that seems kinda wierd since you were not like a family friend or anything. I would remember that he is a parent in mourning and like Tazzie said may have latched on to you.
  6. by   gwenith
    Set up a meeting with your charge nurse there so that you have a witness. Do NOT meet him alone and do NOT let anyone give out your personal contact information - ever! - to anyone!!!!
  7. by   RebeccaJeanRN
    :yeahthat: You really should call him from the hospital at least the one time just in case this is something you can finish with a single call to express your sympathy. Not returning his call at least one time to see what he wants, will seem insensitive. I agree that he is likely to only be wanting to send a card or express his appreciation for your caring. (Of course, he also may be thinking of suing- which enters in alot of family members thoughts right after a loved one dies- and may be seeking extra information from you.) If a single phone call doesn't do it and he wants to meet, I agree to making it at the hospital with your charge nurse present (you don't need to let the father know in advance that the charge nurse is joining you). Then he will get the reminder that yours was a professional relationship with the family, and not an outside one that you'd like to continue. If he doesn't want to meet and a single phone call isn't sufficient, then I think it would be OK to keep being 'occupied with a patient' when the father calls for you at the hospital. I'm not sure if you really got "too" close, since you didn't meet on the outside or provide your personal information. I think its just that either the father wishes to thank you, or that he has some unmet needs right now, which you probably won't be able to (or would want to) fulfill.
  8. by   Nurseboy1
    Thank you for the insight everybody. I will call him at work when I return on Tuesday.
  9. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    It could even be that one of the video games or DVDs you loaned the poor boy was accidentally packed with his stuff and the father is trying to return it. That's happened before to me when I loaned a patient a book and forgot to get it back before she left, she contacted me and I told her to keep it and enjoy it in good health!
  10. by   socishan
    Any news on what happened? I am so curious! I hope it went well and he just wanted to thank you.
  11. by   pissa
    You can talk to him to know what about does he thinking, then decide what you should do. and i think time is a good matherd.
  12. by   Medic/Nurse
    Had a difficult situation with the mother of a patient (that I had cared for much less than an hour) that had died of the injuries that was sustained in an accident.

    Although, it was impossible to "find" me to contact me privately (I do that on purpose). I have never allowed a patient/family outside contact, and think that practice would be risky indeed. She had come to the station on several occasions and "wanted to talk" - I had missed her, talked to her once and managed to avoid her a couple of times. The call had been fairly traumatic for me as well.

    One day I found her "waiting" in our break room, with the Chief catching me and admonishing me to "take it easy". I found her waiting with a bill from the HEMS service for $5,000.00 and the bill from the trauma hospital and she wasn't leaving without answers. (And I don't mean about the bills) She wanted to know exactly what had happened and how her child died. She had "heard" that her child had been conscious on my arrival (a fact I refused to answer earlier- except to say that no suffering was involved). Well as kindly as I could I gave her the grim details (maintaining the no suffering line) including the fact that the trauma center had, in fact, opened up her chest in the ER in an effort to save her. I assured that that EVERYTHING that could have been done, was done and done well. That everyone involved did everything possible to save her child and beyond all the skill and speed - the decision was in the hands of God. And that her child's injuries were not survivable - even if a surgeon had been by the roadside and could have worked right then, right there. There it was over. "Mom" had assumed the injury to the chest was from the accident - when it was from the resuscitation efforts. Mom cried, I cried and it was done.

    I could not do anymore for my patient than what I did. It was a full on tragedy. But, I could and did offer the "mom" what she needed - a compassionate and reasonable explanation. I had been there at the end of her child's life. She deserved that.

    I will, however, caution others against answering questions or making determinations about care. We live in a world that is litigious - tread carefully.

    I see little problem with meeting the "dad" in the hospital cafeteria for a cup of coffee and CLOSURE. I would not do it on the "outside" and I'd have somewhere to be in a reasonable time frame and make sure that I had a witness or someone that knew my whereabouts (I would have a co-worker page me, or come and get me - you just never know) Do not leave the building or share personal information - explain professional boundaries if necessary.

    I am sorry for your loss, it is always a difficult situation. Good Luck.
  13. by   Antikigirl
    I have had my charge nurse inform patients/family trying to get a hold of me to please send a card or letter to me at the hospital. I enjoy cards, and feel that is a perfectly okay way to get information across or say thanks or what not!

    I never ever give my personal infomation out!
  14. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from TriageRN_34
    I have had my charge nurse inform patients/family trying to get a hold of me to please send a card or letter to me at the hospital. I enjoy cards, and feel that is a perfectly okay way to get information across or say thanks or what not!

    I never ever give my personal infomation out!
    I agree - be careful. I befriended an elderly gentleman by just sitting and talking to him while he was an inpatient and he found my home phone number and calls me all the time.

    steph

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