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Have you ever felt threatened?

Have you ever felt threatened by a patient or family member? I work in oncology and deal with a lot of end of life care. We have very sick patients and often time family members who can't cope with the fact that their loved one is dying. They do not understand why we can't just make the patient "better" even though they have an inoperable tumor or end stage cancer. Some of its denial, some lack of education; reguardless its a highly emotional environment which you must tread lightly upon.

When family members cross the line by breaking hospital rules as their family member is dying it can become a toxic situation. The excuse of the family member is that we are not being compassionate, their loved one is dying and this serves as an excuse for any action on their part.

I have one patient who refuses to leave on hospice although she is terminal and we are doing nothing for her other than pain and nausea control. The family has moved into the patient room. The room is trashed and frankly a fire hazzard, barely room to walk. The son and other family members come to the desk five times an hour for any and everything. Security has had issues with this family member due to racist remarks and rude behavior. He gets a pass every time and is allowed to stay because his mom is dying. He reams me for not being in there fast enough and could care less I have five other patients.

The first day I had the patient I went to my nurse manager and had them address the filthy room because I could not work in there. They were told to clean up. I mean they had brought camping chairs in the room. Two people sleeping there and living besides the patient for a month. There were five bags of linens and trash removed. Next, manager tells family they need to use the call light and not come to the desk as often, because he was literally hanging out at the desk. Then all is said and done and I'm in the room with the patient alone and the son goes off on me. I don't care about his mother. I treat her like a number. He wouldn't go to the desk if our staff was faster. I end up calling security. He places blame on me and thinks I am being cruel to his mother and disrespectful to the family.

I honestly feel he is unstable with some of the comments he has made towards me and his behavior. I am afraid after his mother dies he may do something crazy or violent. I hope I am being paranoid and no I do not have to have him as a patient anymore but he seriously frightens me.

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