The Patient I Failed

I met her one Tuesday night, and spent that night pouring Jevity into her tube, only to suction it back out. Her legs were cool and mottled, her bowel sounds were non-existent, and her blue eyes stared blindly at a ceiling she could no longer see. The MD refused to terminate feedings, but I held them since there was no digestion taking place. The woman was turned and repositioned every 2 hours, and each time, she moaned and gurgled as her lungs slowly filled with fluid. I whispered my apologies as I did the very things to her she tried so hard to prevent. Nurses Relations Article


You are reading page 30 of The Patient I Failed


1 Post

This is so true, so heartbreaking and I have had similar cases too.

I can't push enough that the public is educated, that everyone should walk through an ICU or LTAC.

That somehow we can help push education, preventative medicine and that not everyone believes that this is Greys Anatomy and that there is a miracle fix for every problem.

My heart goes out to all the nurses out there who have had these patients and these nights/days.

Been there multiple times. Wrenches your heart every time

Very well said and it is the sad truth


14 Posts

Specializes in critical care.

we do this almost every frgn week in my ICU, disgusting, sickening and demoralising......


3 Posts

Specializes in ICU CCU PACU.

This is exactly why I left ICU many years ago.. I didn't become a nurse to torture old people for a living !! Luckily over the last decades it has improved, more discussion of code status, no coding unwitnessed arrests on the floors. I was fortunate to be a nurse and had influence over my siblings when it was my parents time to die, they both died comfortably in the nursing homes they lived in surrounded by family and care givers that loved them. Canada has the beginnings of Right to Death legislation. I pray it is better when my time comes.


6 Posts

How can a notarized living will be ignored? This is heart breaking


2 Posts

Specializes in Medical ICU, Psych (OP & IP).

Wow! A REAL story! Been there! Heartbreaking, especially not respecting the lady's wishes and also NOT allowing sedatives or pain meds!?! I think that is very selfish of her daughter! As Nurses, sometimes all we can do is make our patients as comfortable as possible.

Very well written!


10 Posts

That is my biggest fear, that I will end up like some of my patients: bed ridden, half concious, suffering for months before finally being allowed to die... I'm always very uncomfortable when I perform some procedures on a patient that in my opinion should be left to die in peace. It seems barbaric, unnecessary and makes me feel guilty.


62 Posts

When I first started in nursing, events like this were common place, as DNRs did not exist. We were so relieved with the advent of DNRs, onlybto be forced into situations like this one. Horrible. I have threatened my adult children mightily with haunting if they do this to me! Hopefully that will remove any guilt they may have over letting me die!


9 Posts

if I had a dollar for every time I heard "yes, we have advanced directives, but I am not ready to lose them"......I have only been an ICU nurse for five months. I tell every patient - makes sure your POA is someone who is strong enough to honor your wishes when you lose your voice and sometimes, that is not your spouse or child.


20 Posts

Beautiful! Even though I haven't had the privilege of working as a nurse yet, I can't imagine how you felt. You did not fail her, her daughter and physician did. Bless your soul.

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