A patient died.

  1. Yesterday my nurse and I were walking to my patient's room when we looked in on this other guy, not moving in bed with his eyes open. She shook him a few times and he finally woke up, and she said to him, you're eyes were open, you scared me!

    We walked out of the room a bit frazzled.

    He died 4 hours later. We were all gone, so I didn't have to see any of it. So many new emotions coming up.
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    About Bonny619

    Joined: May '06; Posts: 528; Likes: 34

    11 Comments

  3. by   RebeccaJeanRN
    Its so hard to experience death for the first time. I haven't had a patient expire on my watch, but several that I had in clinicals died soon thereafter (sounds kind of funny when put exactly that way...), and it was so sad when I found that out. I take comfort in knowing that they got a little TLC from me, and their families did too, before they died. Also, I've learned that making someone's last moments nice, is as important as anything else that we do. I hope hearing this is of some help.
  4. by   EricJRN
    I'm sorry to hear about your experience.
  5. by   Pat_Pat RN
    Working in the ER I have seen many different faces of death. The one that bothered me the most was the COPD patient whose family called for the ambulance, but he didn't want any life prolonging measures. He came to the ER, refused a tube, refused the C-PAP. We gave his family the NRB and let them hold it for blowby. We were not busy in the ER that night, I think he was the only patient we had at the time.
    It was very hard for me to sit/stand/pace while this man was dying in front of me. We don't do that in the ER we *DO* stuff, really fast, and take care of people and save lives and we are cool because of that...but here we had this poor man who was dying and I didn't like it.
    We ended up having to send him to the floor as we had a MVC w/ pregnant woman coming in. He lasted over 24 hours but finally did pass away.
  6. by   blueberry21
    I can still remember when I was 17 yrs old---do the math it was a long time ago...I was an xray transporter. One of my patients was a man a little older than my dad. I remember how kind he was during our trips to and from xray. Then one day he wasnt there. Well, I thought he was all better and went home. Until I read his obituary in the local newspaper....It was tuff. I still remember his name. Emory Steele, not the name of someone you would expect to die.


    Here's hoping you feel better

    :kiss
  7. by   ginger58
    Bonny619,
    I work in Palliative Care so we're tuned in to end of life symptoms. It's the best job I've had because helping someone die is a privilege, and I don't mean "help" them literally! Keeping someone comfortable and having some time at the bedside with them is what nursing is about for me. I'm sorry for your experience. If I can find an article I'm thinking about I'll send the URL and it may be very useful in your new career.
  8. by   CaseManager1947
    In 30 something years of doing this deal, I have seen countless people leave this world... but then, I've also seen some enter it. Our life process is just that, a journey we all will take. Today, sent an 84 y/o gentleman to IP Hospice, Had been on 3/week dialysis for ESRD, came in with multiple pressure areas, and gram positive cocci in his blood. Sick guy. His little wife was trying her best to take care of him at home, but just couldn't do it any longer. This doc with real integrity and compassion tells the wife and sons, that it is unethical to continue treating, that their family member is dying. After about 30min family meeting with myself, SW, family, and the docs, the agreed to meet with hospice, and we moved the patient there this afternoon. This is MHO, American medical culture is not comfortable, as a rule, with facing death in their patients. How in the world, can families get there, if the clinician who knows the patient best, keeps forging on with futile care. Oh well, didn't mean to get on soapbox and turn this into a rant, just focus on how we can be open with families about their options, be someone who can tell the truth, if the questions are asked.

    Morghan, ARNP Case Manager
  9. by   ginger58
    Quote from CaseManager1947
    In 30 something years of doing this deal, I have seen countless people leave this world. This doc with real integrity and compassion tells the wife and sons, that it is unethical to continue treating, that their family member is dying. After about 30min family meeting with myself, SW, family, and the docs, the agreed to meet with hospice, and we moved the patient there this afternoon. This is MHO, American medical culture is not comfortable, as a rule, with facing death in their patients. Morghan, ARNP Case Manager
    Bravo to the doc because he does have the right to end his treatment of the patient if he feels it's futile. Where I work the docs are coming around to Palliative/Hospice care. To be honest, I think nursing is going to turn this fear around by being patient advocates for end of life care. Then with CM, SW, et al., as a team will get the patients some decent end of life care, and hopefully in time.
  10. by   WDWpixieRN
    My first official day of clinicals was yesterday and my patient passed away also.

    Her daughter showed up after we had finished bathing and settling her in and within 10 minutes she was gone.

    I just lost my mom this past March and grandparents over the past few years....I'm also a bit more "mature" in age than some of my fellow students, so I'm aware that this is just a part of life and I'm wasn't freaked out....but it was kind of a backwards welcome to the world of nursing!! Saw other parts of the hospital I didn't expect to be dealing with until much later on!!
  11. by   Daytonite
    Bonny619. . .one of the things you are going to learn about nursing if you stay in the profession for very long is that it is going to force you to look at and examine your feelings and beliefs about a lot of different things in life. Death is one of them. If you end up working in an acute hospital with medical patients you are going to see death and how people react to it. You will see a lot that may shock and surprise you. This is one of the privileges/drawbacks of the profession.
  12. by   RNin'08
    :icon_hug: I feel for you. I had a patient pass away during my first clinical experience. It was an experience I won't forget, as I'm sure this experience will be with you for a long time. We're all here for support!

    RNin'08
    ~my reality check bounced~
  13. by   NeoNurseTX
    Your first death is always the weirdest, but you eventually get more... used ... to it. (Geez, that sounds bad). I work in an ICU and many don't make it. It's a weird feeling to build a relationship with someone and then come on the next day to find out they died overnight.

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