Where Do I Draw The Line Between Right And Wrong?

  1. Hello everyone. I am a nursing student who is currently on vacation. I took a private duty job that was given to me by one of my relatives. In the short period of time that I have worked with the person (who has parkinson's disease) I have notice a lot of things that should be done not being done. The person is very unstable and is left unsupervised by the other workers. He has a nob on his knee from falling, has fallen into one of the mirrors that is on his closet door, which is now shattered of course, and has fallen hard enough into the wall that there is now a big hole in it. I have come in on to take the place of the person on the night shift and has found him urine soaked in bed, and on occasion come in on the afternoon shift to find him reaking of urine, nails dirty, teeth not brushed, and greenish-yellowish discharge coming out of his eyes. He is currently complaining of pain in his right leg where the nob is and has even more trouble walking. His legs also swell and are not elevated unless I am there. One of the persons who is supposed to be caring for him went on vacation and was paid for work (51 hours) that she didn't do. Her family (who are the other workers) are covering for her. I decided to tell his accountant and have left the job. I also recommended that his family be contact and a home care agency with a nurse to evaluate him come in. I have been catching heat from my aunt because she says that I shouldn't have said anything. I am confused because in my heart I feel like I did the right thing. As a soon to be nurse I feel I did the professional thing, but I don't know if I was wrong for betraying my aunt, and the others. I have been up all night with this and on the verge of a panic attack because the only people who are behind me are my classmates and I just feel like crying because my aunt will probably not speak to me again. I thought that the patient's safety should be first and I feel like the others are taking advantage of this person and something needs to be done. He is on carbadopa-levadopa and he isn't given his meds as scheduled. The whole situation is a mess and I don't know what else to do. I just want to go to bed at night knowing that I did the right thing and that the patient will be safe, clean, and cared for the way they should be. PLEASE HELP. ANY ADVISE WOULD BE VERY WELCOMED
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    About ZinnianWolf

    Joined: Feb '04; Posts: 23


  3. by   ayndim
    You absolutely should have said something. As a future nurse, we have a responsibility first and foremost to the people we are caring for. I don't think you betrayed your aunt. The only betraying here are the people who were supposed to be caring for this gentleman. Personally, I would have contacted the police too. I believe that is abuse and shouldn't be tolerated.

    Your aunt needs to understand that you must put your patient above her. Does she know how bad they were treating him? Surely, she doesn't want anyone living like that. I think you know you did the right thing and just want some reassurance. Listen to your gut/heart and always stand up for your patients.
  4. by   Angela Mac
    You did the right thing, and have nothing to feel ashamed about. Your actions have already put you on the path to being a great nurse. As for your aunt, ask her if she would like to be treated in the same manner. There is no excuse for the caregivers, not to provide care- especially in a private duty situation. You might want to report this to the gentleman's Physician. Keep your head up, and rise above the ignorance.
  5. by   CoffeeRTC
    Yep you did the right thing! If the family doesn't step in and make sure he is getting the right care, then the agency for the aging should step in. This man is being abused...elder abuse happens in many forms..neglect is one of them! Your aunt might be mad, but would she treat her own family this way??? I hope not.
  6. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    You did nothing wrong. Still, you are being treated as if you had. This happens a lot in nursing. I always say that our licenses should come with the phrase "no good deed goes unpunished" printed on them.

    I don't think you could have not done the right thing. How would you have lived with yourself?
    Maybe you should call Adult Protective Services.
  7. by   jemb
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    Maybe you should call Adult Protective Services.
    No maybe about it! Call them. This man is being physically abused and taken advantage of financially.

    Frankly, I wouldn't worry about the aunt not speaking to you again. Her loss.
  8. by   nurseygrrl
    You did the right thing. If I were you, I would call this man's family right away. It's sad that he has to suffer because of his caretakers' laziness and negligence. I would have a harder time worrying about this man's condition than whether my aunt had a problem with it. I'm sure it's not easy to have family member not happy with you, but wouldn't she want someone to speak up for her if she were ill and relying on others? Good luck and rest assured that you did the right thing.
  9. by   lola4525
    You did the right thing. How would you feel if you had'nt said a word and something bad happened to the man, how would you sleep than. Now go to bed and get some sleep.
  10. by   jnette
    Kudos to you. Follow your heart on this one. What matters here is your PATIENT... nobody else.
  11. by   BBFRN
    Bravo to you for standing up for your patient. You are already proving yourself to be a great patient advocate. You did what was ethically right- your aunt is wrong, and deep down she should know it. If she confronts you about this again, stand your ground. If she is a nurse, she is setting a very bad example for you. Take care.
  12. by   kids
    Quote from jemb
    No maybe about it! Call them. This man is being physically abused and taken advantage of financially.
    Very worth repeating.
  13. by   ZinnianWolf
    thank you all who have replied so far. As I was reading all of the post, I felt a great deal of relief and I couldn't stop the tears from flowing . I am scared because I still have to face the rest of the group later on tomorrow, but at the same time I feel a sense of peace knowing that someone else knows what they have been doing. The funny thing is my aunt told me not to say anything but she too keeps a journal of her findings, and what she has witnessed when she worked there. I think she didn't want me to say anything because the woman in charge is a long time friend of hers. I am supposed to speak with his accountant tomorrow about the incident with the person getting paid for time she didn't work. I know that these people are probably going to lose there job, but I told on them anyways because they can find a job somewhere else (hopefully not one where they are in charge of the care of another person). I can rest easy tonight and know that there are other people out there who truly do care about the people they care for or will be caring for just as much as I do. God Bless You All, and once again Thank you
  14. by   kids
    Quote from ZinnianWolf
    I know that these people are probably going to lose there job, but I told on them anyways because they can find a job somewhere else (hopefully not one where they are in charge of the care of another person).
    Please make a report to Adult Protective Service any way, for the simple reason their next job may also provide an oppertunity to victimize a vulnerable adult.
    I realize you are a student but, if you were licensed you would be required by law to make the report. Please call APS, do not count on the accountant to protect others from these people.