Some one please tell me

  1. My mother in law passed away today. After they worked on her, the dr came to the family room, let us know she passed, then said we could go see her. When we went in there, she still had the tube down her throat and looked a mess. Why can't more time be taken to make her more presentable for the family? Why does one of our last memories of her have to be how she looked after fighting the battle for her life?

    I am obviously not a nurse yet and haven't even taken clinicals yet, so there is alot I don't understand. Could someone please clarify this for me? My DH has asked the same question. Why do we have to see her like that?

    Miss Lo
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    About misslo, RN

    Joined: Aug '07; Posts: 133; Likes: 258


  3. by   nuangel1
    first i am sorry for your loss.there is a policy that after every hospital death both the medical examiner and the organ bank have to be called .every tube iv everything done during resuscitation has to stay as is until the ME. has signed off on the case .ie in certain circumstances like unexpected deaths ,fetal,maternal and other deaths an autopsy may be required .the dr must have asked you if anyone wanted a "post" ie autopsy .once the answer is no the ME. signs off on the case then the ivs tubes etc can be removed .this process was probably not completed when you saw her .so the ett iv and others tubes were still there .i always try to make pt and room as clean as possible for family viewing but there isn't much we can do to hide a breathing tube.i know its hard to see a loved one that way but there is a reason.
  4. by   leslie :-D
    i agree with nuange's post, if indeed, there was to be an autopsy.
    still, someone should have prepared you before you entered the room.
    i'm sorry you had to encounter this.
    and even sorrier, for your loss.

    with peace,

  5. by   ukstudent
    Some States, have laws that say that lines and tubes need to be kept in place in case of an autopsy with a sudden death. I am sorry that you had to see your mother-in-law like that. My condolences to you and your family.
  6. by   MAISY, RN-ER
    So sorry for your loss. Patients after codes are usually not a pretty sight...if the family is there and wants to go right in, it's almost impossible to make the patient appear normal. Usually, we try as a team to clean up and prepare the patient for visitation. even having housekeeping come to the room to clean up any fluids, wrappers, tubes or anything else out of place.

    Each facility has different rules for visitation s/p code. In addition, deaths that are in a young, or in an otherwise healthy adult sometimes require that the medical equipment be left in for the M. E. Not sure what your situation was or what your hospital's rules are that may be the reason.

  7. by   P_RN
    My sincere condolences for your loss. That was indeed a sad thing to experience.
  8. by   2shihtzus
    Im so sorry for your loss *hugs* If circumstances permit us to take out indwelling tubes, I always make the patient look as pleasant as possible, clean them up, close their mouth and eyes, and remove all medical devices from the room so the family can have a peaceful environment to grieve.....
  9. by   misslo
    Thank you all for the response. I knew that there had to be a reason, as most nurses have more compassion than anyone I have known. I just didn't know WHAT the reason was. They did do an autopsy on her and we are waiting to find out what the ME has found. Personally with her age (68) and health issues, I can't understand why they felt the need to do is, however, that was what the hospital decided to do.

    I do agree that they should have prepared us for what we were going to see, not that it would have made a whole lot of difference. My SIL said that the image she saw last night was the image she saw (mentally) this morning. My husband said seeing her deceased wasn't a problem, just what he had to see last night, so yea, it was a bad experience for us, however we KNOW to not blame the nurses, they were great by the way!

    Thank you for the condolences, we have had alot of time to prepare for her passing, however, you can never truley be prepared.

    Thank you,
    Miss Lo