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Have you experienced a pt.'s death?

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Altra is a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

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Anyone willing to share their experience(s), either in this thread or through a PM? I'd like to talk through my experience and learn from it.

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suzy253 is a RN and specializes in Telemetry/Med Surg.

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Are you OK MLOS? Hugzzzz.

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MLOS sorry to hear you are having a hard time. I wish I could offer advice but I am limited with my death experiences. I had a patient die, but it happened a day I was helping in respiratory and I was not that familiar with the client. I helped bag him before the staff called a code. He ended up not needing the code (dopamine seemed to help) and I left his room. I found out later that day that he had died. He was in terrible shape; AIDS had taken him to the point of being in a coma. His family requested a full code status and his doctor was less than concerned. His kidneys had failed, his liver had failed, and he was dripping blood out of old IV sites. While I was there I felt such sympathy for him having to be hooked up to everything under the sun, when it was evident he was dying and nothing we did was going to benefit him. I wanted him to be free of all the equipment. He actually died shortly after his family took him off full code. I wanted peace for him and I am sure that is what he wanted.

My only other time with a dying person was in the mall. I heard a loud crash and then noticed a very large man on the floor. I went over (thinking he fell asleep) and asked if he was o.k., his only response was a death rattle. Everything moved so slow from that point on. I wanted to save him, but the EMTs said he was most likely dead before he hit the floor. He had a massive heart attack. I think he died happy, because I saw him checking out women in the mall before he died.

The only thing I have learned from these experiences is that death takes whoever it wants, whether we are willing to let them go or not. And in these cases being an emotional support person is the best you can do.

Rachel

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301 Posts; 2,601 Profile Views

I have. I just completed my CNA class when my GRANDMOTHER became very sick. She was 93 years old and very dear to my heart. She wanted to come home to die. I helped to make that possible for her. I was the one she called for all the time. She was home for 3 weeks when she past away. I was there when she took her final breath. I stayed until they took her away. It was hard. She kept telling me I was going to make a good nurse someday and not to give up. I learned that I was really cut out to be a nurse. I have not regrets about it and have a warm feeling inside when I think of her. I never thought my grandmother would be my first experience in this situation. I feel she is my . I hope to become a :nurse: if not for myself my dear grandmother.

Anyone willing to share their experience(s), either in this thread or through a PM? I'd like to talk through my experience and learn from it.

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txspadequeenRN has 20 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU, PICC Nurse, Nursing Supervisor.

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I work in hospice ,and I am more than willing to help you in any way I can. :)

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437 Posts; 4,976 Profile Views

It is never easy to lose a patient -- even when you think you are prepared-- you aren't always ready.

The dearest end-of-life experience I was involved with was WAY BACK. I was a 14 year old candystriper. A man from our church was a patient. We all knew that he would not be going home. (at least not in the earthly sense) His wife sat at his bedside -- I popped in on them numerous times while I did my 4 hour volunteer thing. When I was finished I went in to say Good-Night to them. The wife (sweetest little lady) asked if I could sit with her for a little while/ Hubby had been in and out of consciousness all afternoon -- no real coherent speech or responses. He would squeeze her hand once in a while as she sat there holding it (for hours). About 20 mins after I sat down, Mr.L sat upright in bed, looked at his dear wife and said, in a very strong, animated voice -- "M____!(her name) Do you hear that music?!It's so beautiful!!" He lay back, with a smile on his face, looked over at her and said I love you darling! I'll see you in the morning", closed his eyes and was gone moments later. I still get chills thinking about it. What a way to go!!

I am sorry that you lost a patient! I hope that you will be able to draw comfort from knowing that we as nurses can, and often do, make dying an easier transition for folks -- giving them relief from pain, comfprt from fears and dignity in the process-- we can give them a sense of relief -- knowing that we will be there for their family members after they are gone.

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1,193 Posts; 6,178 Profile Views

missmercy--what a beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes. And to have experienced it at such a young age must have been a wonderful experience for you. I think we all hope that we can die in such a way.

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Altra is a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

6,255 Posts; 40,953 Profile Views

Thanks to all who responded, either here or privately. You guys are the best! :nurse:

I've thought I was prepared for this, but as with most things, the reality is different than the theory. The pt.'s spouse was so grief-stricken she was nearly inconsolable, and unfortunately I think those images will stick with me for some time. It's one thing to understand intellectually that medical treatments will not always be successful, but it's another thing to actually experience that.

Thanks for your stories - the peaceful and the not so peaceful. They were all meaningful. I'm done with clinicals for this semester (what a way to end the term :o ) so I have a few weeks to take a break, pull what I can from this, and then get "back in the trenches" in Sept.

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CardioTrans is a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/CCU/MICU/SICU/CTICU.

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A few yrs ago I was doing home care and had a patient that had been diagnosed with colon cancer. He and his wife had been married for 48 yrs. They worked at the same place, worked the same shift and drove back and forth to work together. Needless to say they never spent a day apart in 48 yrs. He was also a preacher. He had his good days and his bad, but one day he was talking to me and talking about God. He asked me if I had ever distrusted God while my mom was sick. I told him that I had questioned why it had to be her, but I knew that she was in a better place and no longer hurting. We sat in silence for a long time (little did I know that his wife was standing around the corner listening to him), he finally looked at me and said that he believed that he was going to receive the ULTIMATE chemo treatment. He asked when I would be back and I told him in 2 days unless he needed me before then. He thanked me for taking care of him for the last few months, but told me that he would not be there when I came back. I made a point to get to his house early when I went back. He died 15 minutes before I got to his house. His wife was beside him when I came in. She looked up and said to me "He knew before you left the other day he would be gone"

This man was one of the best men that you would ever want to meet. His wife and I cried for about 45 minutes that day. I still call her just to check on her, and she sends me Christmas cards. Even as a nurse I knew that he wouldnt make it much longer, but the personal side of me lost a dear friend that day.

It is never easy to lose a patient. The day that a patient dies and it does not effect us, is the day we need to leave nursing.

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532 Posts; 4,309 Profile Views

On my very first day of clinicals, my patient's roommate died. A code was called and people came running into the room, throwing furniture out into the hall, screaming orders, etc. My patient was taken out of the room, but my instructor told me to stay in the corner and watch until they kicked me out. It was very traumatic at the time, but I guess she thought it was a good learning experience. It must be so much harder when it your patient, especially with a grieving spouse. I will be thinking of you MLOS.

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wonderbee is a BSN, RN and specializes in critical care; community health; psych.

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Awww you poor thing.

The patient was from my clinical. I was there when she was cheyne stoking. She was young and apparently had a history of devastating mental illness. What was so sad was that I wasn't able to be with her for her final moments, though I wanted to. Liability issues and all. Her mental illness had so isolated her from her family, that no one came to say goodbye. Not her children... not a soul. I held her hand and stroked it as long as my instructor allowed me to stay in the room. It was so sad.

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