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My patient dies after my last shift

Specializes in Tele, MSN-education grad. 5/10.

I cared for this patient four days over the course of 9 days. The last day I was there his condition significantly deteriorated to the point he was transferred to ICU from med-surg. His O2 was 84 on 2 liters. Respiratory started a nonrebreather which helped some but after his ABGs came back he needed to be on a vent. His BP also was very low. The MD's were called as soon as the pt's condition changed. After I left after my shift I later found out he passed. I feel awful for the family as I had gotten to know them and some members felt he would recover.

How do I get closure on this? I didn't attend the funeral as it was over the holiday. I think about this every day and will be going back to work soon.

Fun2, BSN, RN

Specializes in Operating Room.

Could you send a sympathy card to the family, or pay a visit to his burial site?

NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology.

Each one of us will die one day. That's how God and Nature intend it to be. Of course the family is grieving and you, in the second circle of grief, feel sad for the man and his loved ones. That's also as God and Nature intend it. You gave this man and his family the best care you were able and that's all that anyone can ask of you. If you feel you need to make a gesture, by all means send a sympathy card or make a small contribution to a charity in the patient's name. And then let it go.

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