A Patient's Death

  1. I just need some encouraging words. I'm getting gun-shy; so many bad things have happened at work lately. I know we work with a high-risk population (I work in a university hospital) but this is almost too much.
    I had a post-partum c/section patient last Thursday who had a temp (t-max on me 104.1) resp 40's and hr 160's. We were running all kinds of tests, etc. After I left at 1900, she became incontinent of bowel, and we finally sent her to ICU. When our docs were rounding on her the next day, Radiology was there and sat her up to do a chest x-ray. Whereupon, she threw a massive PE and died right in front of them.
    This lady was a 26-year-old G5P5 with a perfectly healthy baby who apparently had some sort of overwhelming sepsis.
    I am having a hard time shaking this off.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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    About rdhdnrs

    Joined: Apr '01; Posts: 320; Likes: 32
    ob staff nurse high-risk referral center


  3. by   nursedawn67
    I wish I could tell you something to comfort you....From the sounds of it things were being done for her.....but it is very hard to lose a patient no matter what age they are. All I can do for you is give you a ((((((HUG))))))
  4. by   mother/babyRN
    You can't shake it off, nor should you. She is with the angels and you have realized that you can't fix everything and, although you might not know it yet, her symptomology will help guide you toward intervention if and when someone else with similar symptomology, either benign or malignant comes your way. The sadness fades but she will forever remain with you and posthumsly accompany you on that long, hard but oh so special journey you have undertaken to be the best nurse you can be. She is a part of you now....Hugs to you...It never gets easier.....
  5. by   fergus51
    I am so sorry. I agree with what everyone else has said. The fact that you are having a hard time just shows that you are a caring person. ((((((HUGS)))))))
  6. by   prmenrs
    There is NOTHING, absolutely nothing that shakes up the entire OB dept like having a mother die. Babies do die more often, there are IUFD's, premies, mec asps and all that, but whenever a mother is lost, L&D's whole world comes crashing down. The last time it happened in my hospital, it was also some type of embolism. Happened at 2am--every attending came in, even the head of the division. I'm not sure--it was awhile ago, but the area nsg supervisor and the DON showed up, too.

    We lost another mother more recently, but we had a lot of warning--she had been up in the MICU for at least a month, we had the baby, so we were helping Dad cope--he had a very supportive family, also. That one wasn't as hard.

    L&D nurses do a great job comforting moms suffering losses, but they need a lot of support after a mom dies. Know that you--and everyone else--will feel very sad for a while. Take care of each other. Use physical affection if that is ok with everyone. A good, thorough hug can help a lot. Try to go to the M&M if they have one so that you can get a better grip on what happened and why, and what you can do better next time--if anything.

    Don't forget that we only THINK we're in control of everything; every once in a while, God has to remind us we are NOT. And, it is a VERY rare event. We can Thank God for that as well.
  7. by   shay
    Lisa, sweetie, I'm so sorry. I don't know what else to say. God bless.
  8. by   mother/babyRN
    On the rare occasion that it has happened to us, I have wondered if it is so much more difficult to handle not only because we identify with a new mom and baby never having the opportunity to know each other, and of course the devastation to the respective families, but, at least with me, it gives me pause to take a deep breath and admit to myself that there, but for the grace of God, go I...WE identify with THEM because WE are moms too....My humble analysis....
  9. by   LilgirlRN
    I used to be on the code team. I went to a code as fast as I could go, threw the curtain back and there was a young woman with an enormous belly that was receiving CPR. I thought she was pregnant, but she had had a section 5 days previously. She had been calling her doc, she went home 3 days post-op. She had a low grade fever when she was discharged. She had been complaining of back pain and continued low grade fever. Nurse kept telling her to continue to take her pain medication. She died. When they did the post, she had a bladder full of pus that backed all the way up the ureters into the kidneys. Died of sepsis that went into respiratory failure. We were all devastated. We all cried with the husband/new father who was going to have to raise a baby girl without her mother.
  10. by   rdhdnrs
    Thanks so much guys; how I love my fellow nurses. I will sleep better tonight knowing that all us sad gals aren't alone. Thanks.