may sound silly

  1. I've been having a issue that may sound silly to you guys but its not to me i know in the health care setting if someone dies you may have to handle that pt.if he's your patient. I'm in school now to become a rt an im not to sure if a rt would be responsible for a decease pt. I hope not cause i'm very very terrified to handle a dead pt.Do this bother you and if so how do you deal?
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    About JoanieRT2b

    Joined: Nov '06; Posts: 8


  3. by   henayneiCLNC
    the first one was a little awkward - but after nearly 200 deaths in nearly 25 years (I worked ICU and Hospice) I find it a great honor to tend the body after death....

    how do I handle it? I view the body as a vessel due great respect for what it once housed, a living human being, and treat it with as much honor and gentleness and respect as I would any living person. I learned early the things that happen to a body after death (evacuation of bowels, etc) and the noises a body can make after death (when moved or even handled air can move out of the lungs and in escaping can cross the vocal cords and produce sound which can be disconcerting if you don;t know what is happening and are prepared for it) and these things have become as much a part of my nursing care as such things might be in caring for a comatose or paralyzed client

    IOW - I find it a great honor to tend to the body after death....

    but it has not been my experience RTs are involved in this process usually.... it is a nursing thing, although I have seen nurses assign aides to do it - personally I never did unless it was necessary to prevent me slighting the care of my living clients.

  4. by   augigi
    No, it doesn't bother me. Looking after your patient until they leave - via the door or otherwise, is part of nursing. I consider it a privilege, and it really doesn't bother me. The ritual is actually quite comforting to me.
  5. by   Daytonite
    One of the things about being in the healthcare industry where you work with patients is that you are forced to come face to face with your beliefs and fears. As a respiratory therapist you will most likely be involved in a lot of code blues (if you work in the acute hospital) where a good percentage die and don't make it through the code blue. In fact, the patients are clinically dead while they are being coded. Maybe you ought to re-think your choice of career if that's going to be a problem for you. What do you think it is that bothers you about death? You really should think on this?

    I've had a curiosity about death since I was a kid. I think I may have been an embalmer in ancient Egypt in another incarnation. I bugged a guy from a local funeral home who used to do our body removals at a nursing home where I worked until he finally let me watch him do an embalming. I don't want people to misunderstand when I say I was thrilled over this, but what I mean is that it gave me closure to many questions I had about the process of embalming and death. I, personally, believe that our physical body is just a shell and that our true self is our soul which lives on. I've been at many bedsides as people took their last breaths. In almost all cases, it was a peaceful process. My mother who died just a few months ago here at home with metastatic cancer died while I sat at her side. As worried as I was that she would be uncomfortable with shortness of breath (she had metastasis to the lungs), her passing was very peaceful. My own fear is that death by trauma where one would sustain terrible pain and/or suffering is the absolute worst that could happen. One of my fellow nursing students died shortly after our graduation from nursing school (this was 30 years ago) when her car was forced off the road and went over a cliff as she was driving down a mountain road. I had bad dreams about that for many years. Otherwise, death does not scare me. Even when I underwent surgery a few months ago, I told my sister, who was really upset for me, that she shouldn't worry. If I died while I was knocked out and under anesthesia I wouldn't even know what had happened. What better way to go, than to fall asleep and never wake up? I only ask that I just get to see the last episode of Heroes before I croak. :rollHey! We all gotta go sometime--that's a fact, Jack!
  6. by   joannep
    You are very young and at school, I am not surprised the thought of dealing with dead bodies disturbs you. You probably haven't thought about people vomiting on you, or coughing up on you, and that is just the start of the list. With training and experience at work you become accepting of these things. You will develop a different outlook as you grow and develop as a person. Good luck with your studies.