Jump to content

Smell of Death but Not Dying

Posted

Have any of you ever smelled the "smell of death" on a patient and had them survive?

I first smelled that smell on my grandpa about 2 weeks before he died. He had been slowly declining for a while, but those last few weeks, the smell grew stronger and stronger- like a sweet but still nasty odor. Ive smelled it a few times since at the LTC where I work (same facility where he died- not a usual scent for the facility) and it always hits me like a ton of bricks.

Im concerned because I smell it on my grandma now. (She is at home) I stay overnight with her because she is 87 and wheelchair bound. She developed a cold earlier this week that has progressed into at least bronchitis if not pneumonia judging by her constant hacking cough and even difficulty forming sentences at times due to the respiratory difficulties. (I tried to get her to go to the ER. So did my dad. She refused.)

I'm just wondering, is that scent for sure death at the door, or simply nasty respiratory secretions? And have any of you ever smelled that telltale scent on a person and seen them live to overcome it?

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

Have any of you ever smelled the "smell of death" on a patient and had them survive?

I first smelled that smell on my grandpa about 2 weeks before he died. He had been slowly declining for a while, but those last few weeks, the smell grew stronger and stronger- like a sweet but still nasty odor. Ive smelled it a few times since at the LTC where I work (same facility where he died- not a usual scent for the facility) and it always hits me like a ton of bricks.

Im concerned because I smell it on my grandma now. (She is at home) I stay overnight with her because she is 87 and wheelchair bound. She developed a cold earlier this week that has progressed into at least bronchitis if not pneumonia judging by her constant hacking cough and even difficulty forming sentences at times due to the respiratory difficulties. (I tried to get her to go to the ER. So did my dad. She refused.)

I'm just wondering, is that scent for sure death at the door, or simply nasty respiratory secretions? And have any of you ever smelled that telltale scent on a person and seen them live to overcome it?

People's internet opinions of a "death smell" are not going to give you any useful information regarding your grandmother's health status.

brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

It sounds like your grandma needs medical care that only her Dr and probably the hospital can provide, like IV fluids and IV antibiotics to treat an infection like pneumonia. She is struggling to breathe from what you say and stress that she can be made more comfortable with breathing treatments to open the airways and oxygen if needed. By staying at home she is suffering needlessly.