What's your "Dead Patient" story? - page 3

This story is a bit of a rant, but I want to hear funny ones, too. Yeaterday, a pt of mine passed away at (time) 1727. She was 96 years old, had a fantastic life and had family & friends with her... Read More

  1. by   night owl
    I've told this one a few times so what's one more...In my very early days of nursing, had a pt who was pronounced, preped for the morgue and ready to go. I wheel him into the elevator. The door no sooner closed and this corpse let's out this big sigh and sits straight up on the gurney! I damn near pooped all over! The door opens up, I run out and leave the body riding the elevator. After about 15 minutes of composure I realize this body is still riding the elevator. Took someone else with me to check it out and there he was still sitting up on the gurney. The other nurse layed him down and checked his pulse and all. Yup, still dead. We then took him to the morgue.
  2. by   Edward,IL
    When I was in nursing school in the early 1980's, two of my fellow students worked at a local hospital and they told this story: Charlie had helped his post-op patient get bathed and transfered him to a chair to finish shaving, no problem. A few minutes when Charlie returned to check on his patient, the man was sluped over in his chair pulseless and breathless. He yelled for Kris to come and help, picked up the phone to initiate a code and then they both grabbed the patient and threw him into bed. They appparently bounced him prettty hard because he then developed a sinus rhythm!

    Another story I heard several years ago, I don't know if it's true but certainly sounds like what we do here in America.
    In the state of NJ, nurses could not prounounce a patient dead The laws were changed so nurses could prounounce patient's dead in nursing homes. (apparently because MD's did not want to have to go out at night just for this).
    A patient in an ICU expired, but had to be transfered (with vent, etc) in the elevator downstairs to the extended care unit, admitted, then the nure could prounounce them.
  3. by   Jenni
    Ok, so maybe this sounds a little insensitive....but it was funny at the time....lol.
    My patient died at midnight....the doc...who was expecting it, as was the family.......told me he would come in in the morning and pronounce. OK, I work in a hospital with NO air conditioning and its the middle of the summer. So, thankfully, the man is in a private room. We shut the door.....open the window and wait for morning. The LPN i was working with decided to play a little joke on me. She sneaks into the room and rings the call bell, then runs off down the hall.......lol.....
    Of course i freak....wondering how the hell the call bell can be ringing from that room.....
    Anyway to make a long story short , i found her hiding in another patients room.
    Geez....ok.....it sounds pretty pathetic...but hey no one knew ....LOl.
  4. by   sixes
    I had to put thought into this one. You have to know first that I was terrified of death and dead people, irrational probably, but I was. I was working on a long term care floor as a Student Nursing Assistant in my perceptorship. I had never done after care. This elderly gentlemen pass on night shift. I came on for my morning report I was told that I would be doing the aftercare. I froze, my heart rate had to be 200. My preceptor assured me she would stay with throughout the procedure. OK deep breath. We get to the bedside. Turn this elderly man to wash his backside and he lets out this big gasping breath/burp. Needless to say I was gone straight through the curtain and out the door. My preceptor is laughing so hard I can hear her outside the room. With much coaxing I'm back in the room, do the care and then go home shaking and never feeling like I could return to work.
    A few years later my beloved Nanny had a massive stroke. I stayed by her side in the ICU until she passed peacefully away. I did her care and went home. I was never afraid again. I actually was on the pallative care team for 2 years. Thanks Nanny I Love you
  5. by   Audreyfay
    Jemb...what a terribly sad story. From all the stories I have heard from people who had a near-death experience, this man was not ready to die. He tried to come back, but couldn't. I can envision it this way. He saw the bright light and his loved ones were there telling him to come. He said I'm not ready, I have work still to do. He tried, but once he was back in his body, he realized that his time was up. He went to his loved ones "on the other side." It was his time. I strongly believe that if you had attempted to code him again that he would have died anyway. I have to give you a big hug for staying by his side and holding his hand. Bless your heart forever! :kiss
  6. by   Jaxrn02
    I don't have any funny stories, but many touching ones. I work on an Oncology Unit- most of my patients are DNR's. This one patient-an 87 y/o lady was very close to death. I walked in the room and she was holding her arms up, looking at the ceiling with a big smile and tears streaming down her face. And then she was gone. I wish I could have seen what she was seeing.
  7. by   lovebigdogs
    Everyone has such different stories..some sad and some funny.
    Here is mine:
    In nursing school I did an extra internship at my local hospital of choice. One day I was taking care of an older gentleman who had a number of things wrong and DIC was one of them. He was getting IVF of D51/2 and was getting various meds. Well he used the call bell and told me he had to get on the commode. I transferred him there w/o difficulty and was changing his bed when all of a sudden he slumped over and fell off the commode...I did some fancy footwork to get around the bed to try to catch him but wasn't there in time. I was so stunned that I stood there and watched him for a few seconds then I yelled out to my other nurses...I couldn't reach the call bell. The two nurses that I was working with came running. By now he was bleeding from a scalp lac from banging his head on the floor and his IV was bleeding around the site and his eyes were bleeding. We heaved him on the bed and assessed for signs of life. Of course there were none. I was so scared that day-I had prior dealings with dead people as I was a CNA for 8 years before going to nursing school...but never had one die in my presence. I felt responsible. He did not get an autopsy b/c of his age..I imagine. It would have been interesting to see what the coroner would have said about cause of death. Later that week I had to meet with the college instructor and had to write up a paper on what had happened. I felt better after talking with my preceptor and my peers.
  8. by   JACALA_CL

    for your experience as a student. I had a similar one when i was in nursing school (15yrs ago). It was hard. I feel that the experience while still in a "learning" mode made it easier for me to deal with death as an RN.
    I work emergency and have seen my fair share. It is never the same twice. It is up to each of us in our profession to be caring in death, wheather for the John Doe, or the Mrs.BigBucks.
  9. by   greyseal
    I had been out of school 3 months working at a SNF.

    The pt was a 99 year old woman dying when I started my shift at 3 pm. She had a temperature of about 104 at least and was totally unresponsive. The biggest snowstorm in years started at about 2pm.

    At midnight she passed away. By then we had about 20 inches of snow on the ground. At that time RNs couldn't pronounce. The MD couldn't get in because of the weather and neither could the family. The odor coming from this poor woman was awful so we couldn't let her stay in her room with her roommate for another 8 or so hours. So we moved the roommate and cracked open the window. I ended up working 20 hours that night and he finally showed up when I was leaving.

    I was definitely wondering what I was doing in this profession.
  10. by   MrsWampthang
    One thing that can be learned from a couple of these posts is that you treat the patient, not the monitor! That monitor can say NSR and your patient can be dead as a doornail.

    On night in our ER a young guy came in complaining of chest pain. He was put on the monitor, and had the crappiest rythm I had ever seen. I asked the charge nurse if the patient had an IV and the charge asked the attending nurse as she came around the corner of the nurse's station. Her reply was "well, he says he feels better." The charge told her "Oh sure, they always feel better before they code." She laughed and went back in the patients room to start an IV. Needless to say about 2 minutes later, I was sitting in front of the station monitor and the patient went into vfib! I yelled that the patient was coding and took off across the nurses station to the patient's room. When I ran in the door the nurse looked at me, then looked at the monitor and I think she about peed her pants! The patient had that "I'm just about to die" look on his face then the lack of oxygen hit his brain and he went out. The ER doc was in there by then and thumped him on the chest and got him back! We got the IV and took care of him, but it was tense for a while there. I think that was one of the youngest chestpain/codes I've ever worked.

    Like someone else said, that is only one of many stories that I could relate!

    ER, you watch it!
    We live it!

  11. by   rn-jane
    not sure if one might think this is funny but here goes....
    About three years a go, new years eve, i had an elderly lady named harriet that had been a frequent flyer with us over the past year. certainly with her end stage chf, ef of only 3% was finally dying. THE family had made her a dnr, and was lingering for days.
    The only family available was a daughter who had been by her bedside endlessly, she finally went home to get much needed rest and to be with her family for the holiday.
    As par for the course this lady decided she did not want to wait around for the new year to pass, she took a progressive turn for the worse and though her body was trying to let go, she just seemed like she didn't know what to do?
    She had been semi-comotose for weeks, i called her family to let them know the time is very soon, the daughter said she was past exhaustion and just could not do this anymore today, i told her i would let her know when she had passed.
    I cannot let a patient die alone so i along with 2 cna's (one was from psych) sat with her for her final journey home. Her heart was only beating at this time at 10-15/min and she had regained
    semi consciousness. I told her daughter was aware and it was
    her time to go! something was keeping her here, finally i said to her "harriet go towards the light!!!!" (needless to say the male cna from psych thought i was insane ) but she passed about 2 seconds later.
  12. by   stressednurse
    While I was going to nursing school I worked as a paramedic.
    A mid 50's female patient with chest pain uncontrolled with anything she had at home or we had to offer on the way to the hospital, started to tell us about all the spirits in the ambulance. She further identified about 5 that I remember to have died while I was working, one being a 12 year old boy, another a man who had been in a fall accident. She said, wow! lots of people have died in this ambulance. Her identification of the sex and injuries were so spooky but so real.
    As we pulled up to the hospital she sat straight up, yelled, grabbed her chest and was asystole before I could respond. We entered the ER doing CPR and they questioned our chest pain awake and talking report a few minutes back.
    Needless to say, she was pronounced in the ER and I did share the ride stories with the nurses.
    This ride still gives me chills 12 years after it happened.
  13. by   zambezi
    This one was recent form me...I got report from the day shift on a patient that had been admitted four hours prior...she had gotten report from the transfer hospital that in no way matched the patient. She said she was expecting a fairly stable patient...patient wasn't even sent acls transport...patient was close to unresponsive upon arrival with a pH of 7.1...intubated patient...patient was a fairly fresh dcd post op from a couple of days ago... etc...When I took over, patient was responsive, vented, max dopa, and epi started. BP remained low...BP were acting strange, very narrow pulse pressures...neck very swollen/purple/draining (culture not good) from previous surgery...Checked temp up to 40.5. Called doc. Intervention done-cooling blanket/tylenol/fan/etc. Checked temp again in one hour temp 41.5. Starting to have bad feeling at this point...BP low, HR dropping, dopa, epi, vasopressin started (would have loved a swan to see what I am sure was a nonexistant SVR) HR initially afib 100s...now 80...needless to say, bad feeling continued. Resp. Rate now up to 30s..pt had no sedation on board so I gave just .5 mg ativan, patient appeared more relaxed/RR still 20-30. Went out of room to check on something and came back in pt unresponsive..pupils fixed/dilated...pulse palpable but not great/HR remained 70-80s...code cart in because I could see it coming...called doc while another watched the patient...told him of bad feeling/unresponsiveness, new cyanosis, questionable pulse...Hung up-pt asystole...aaahhhh! Got her back, but never responsive..lots of epi/max dopamine/vasopression at max...not a good BP...pt still had rhythm and pulse was difficult to palpate... ABG showed (new) metabolic acidosis pH 6.9...Doc talked to family changed to no code...I called time of death approxiamtely 3 hours after code after watching hr dwindle down all night (Personally I think PEA for last hour or so because she was sooooo mottled, etc..) Family was able to be with her for those 3 hours. Even though I saw this coming, it is still a bummer when the patient dies...It always hurts to see the family hurting...