Published Jan 10, 2014
You are reading page 3 of When Faith Creates False Hope
I have found in all my years this extreme behavior is usually associated with some sort of guilt. This combined with opportunists...like the lawyer who I see and the devil whispering in her ear, and that crazy hair dresser in NY, or the Uncle Omari...seeing this as an opportunity and perpetuating this mothers grief/disbelief.
Yes, this exactly. Those who have ambiguity in their relationship with the deceased or dying, or feel very guilty seem to suffer the most. For example, if the deceased was always a jerk, the family can grieve the person they wished they had or even be glad the deceased is gone. If the deceased was loving, their loss is mourned. The most tricky seem to be those who were mostly cruel with some periods of kindness. That is hard to live with, and also very hard to mourn. Those left behind seem to grieve for the loss of the ideal relationship they wish they had, yet realize that this hoped-for good relationship will now never materialize.
When a family's beliefs conflict with apparent medical facts, I ask them what would be an ideal outcome. Usually they say complete or near complete recovery. I ask them what would be a difficult outcome. I then ask them if their thoughts about Higher Power will change based on the outcome, and if there could be still some good, some miracle even if hoped-for miracles never occur.
When I lost a baby in miscarriage, the nurse did something similar for me. Of course, I wanted what most people want, a healty, term baby. But EVEN IF I didn't get that, I still had her for a time. I chose to celebrate her very brief life, even among extreme grief. The nurse gave me that gift. She asked if we wanted her to stay or go, gave us time to process the loss. She never gave false hope, but encouraged me to talk some and let out the anger and hurt and guilt, while then giving us privacy to grieve. The gift is in giving your patients the chance to express this. Just remember, not everyone wants this gift, and some will reject it.
I have had a very similar situation in my employment. It is one of the most difficult positions to be in. I'm sure ethics committees are discussing this all over the world.
The people in Jahi's Facebook posse are choosing the latter verbiage. They are insisting that God will heal her' date=' not that he could. If I were religious, I would find it blasphemous to assume any of a divine being's plans. To answer my own question (as in the original post), I would probably say something like the following: "I am glad that your faith is bringing you comfort during this hard time in your life." It doesn't invalidate the family member's belief, and it also doesn't put me in the position of providing false hope, which I believe would be unethical.[/quote']Very well said.
Very well said.
LadyFree28, BSN, LPN, RN
These behaviors by families are not always faith-based. I think it's a personality type that just can't let go. If it's not a far-fetched hope for divine intervention' date=' it's believing that science will have a breakthrough that will rescue the person. When my mother had a brain aneurysm, I saw my very non-religious stepfather act in a controlling fashion, not able to let go. But, he's been a control freak his whole life.[/quote']THIS. I also agree with Esme's post as well. I would like to add that if someone is wanting to hold on to their family member, especially in Peds, sometimes it's to avoid prosecution. I've been in those scenarios.
I also agree with Esme's post as well.
I would like to add that if someone is wanting to hold on to their family member, especially in Peds, sometimes it's to avoid prosecution.
I've been in those scenarios.
My fall-back response is to say, "God answers every prayer. But sometimes, the answer is 'No'"
I have been reading this thread for a while now. A few things I do not understand.
Why is a school involved on any level with this case? It is my choice to explain to my child the definition of life and death. If a school told my child to pray for a classmate because she is still alive, when obviously, she is not, I may well have something to say about it.
Uncle Omari, said during a Pierce Morgan interview (also on youtube), when a child is born, there is no way to tell if the baby is breathing, they can tell if it has a heartbeat because they put this monitor on the mom's belly. Wow, I didn't know babies in the womb breathed on their own. But AFTER they're born, you bet we know if they're breathing.
Jahi's mother also stated (& is also on youtube) when she walked with her child into the hospital the morning of the surgery, there was nothing medically wrong with the child, she was fine. So, why did she need a surgery? I realize this is a play on words, but an attorney would probably have a field day with that statement.
I have been a NICU RN for many years, have dealt with death & sat in group meetings with tearful families while the discussion of removing mechanical ventilation has taken place. I have openly cried with families, held hands, shared hugs, and cried on my drive home. No matter my personal feelings, I have to put the mask on while at work, it's my choice & I have no regrets about choosing nursing. Trust me, it never gets easier. My own niece was brain dead after an auto accident. The decision was made to donate her organs. I remember the adult ICU, holding her lifeless hand, looking at her beautiful face knowing there was no longer life, yet, my brain had the hardest time comprehending there was no life. I could not fathom taking her lifeless body from the hospital.
This whole case saddens & dumbfounds me. I choose to believe the mother knows on some level her daughter is dead, gone, not coming back to life in any sense. I also choose to believe (not based on any fact, just my own opinions), this mother and/or the family may be acting on their own guilt. Guilt of what, who knows. There has been talk of the belief of religion as for the basis of this lawsuit. I ask, what organized religion? During the month this child was hospitalized, how many times did a spiritual leader visit the bedside?
Do courts recognize spiritual belief as organized religion? I am not saying that is the case here, but it does give rise to an interesting discussion.
As a parent, nurse, human being, I am thankful I live in a country where I have the choice to choose. No matter how anyone personally feels about this case, there is a dead child & a grieving family. That is pain I would not wish upon anyone.
HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD
It's a horrible situation to be in. Just as horrible as the family of a brain dead 20-week pregnant woman in Fort Worth - who are trying to have mechanical support removed but our misguided state laws say that they can't because it would terminate the fetus. Two ends of the spectrum... both horrible.
I recall that a wonderful hospital chaplain once commented to me - it's amazing that these 'people of faith' are so resistant to death, which is the natural end of all physical life.... their beliefs must be very superficial if their belief is limited to earthly existence.
This should be a public service announcement-STAT
morte, LPN, LVN
Yeah, I think they missed the part about "thy will be done".
It's a horrible situation to be in. Just as horrible as the family of a brain dead 20-week pregnant woman in Fort Worth - who are trying to have mechanical support removed but our misguided state laws say that they can't because it would terminate the fetus. Two ends of the spectrum... both horrible.I recall that a wonderful hospital chaplain once commented to me - it's amazing that these 'people of faith' are so resistant to death, which is the natural end of all physical life.... their beliefs must be very superficial if their belief is limited to earthly existence.
Do you think part of the difficulty of this young girls family in accepting her death is because the procedure was one that most people would consider "not a big deal"? Yes, I know, there is risk with all procedures and this is explained. Yes, I know something can go wrong at any time. Being honest, I don't think most people would consider death to be the outcome of a tonsillectomy. I think this might be part of the problem. She was to go in the hospital, have the procedure, and be home that night with her family with a sore throat eating ice chips and popsicles, or whatever they advise nowadays.
A faith based person knows that God can perform miracles and is hoping He will perform one for them. With that being said, they also know that miracles are very much the exception and not the rule. I pray they accept this and allow their faith to bring the comfort that comes from knowing that one day they will be together again.
emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B
"Yes, God does hear all prayers, but sometimes the answer is no." Father Francis Mulcahey on M*A*S*H
ArtClassRN, ADN, RN
If we have a terminally-ill patient, and a family member says, "I believe that God will heal her," do we have a professional obligation to reiterate the prognosis and dismiss their religious beliefs, or just nod our heads? Creating false hope is unethical, but it is also not our place to argue with peoples' religious beliefs.How have you dealt with these situations, or how would you if put in a similar circumstance?
How have you dealt with these situations, or how would you if put in a similar circumstance?
I don't reiterate, I simply iterate just once and then they can continue on their merry way. I offer condolences, spiritual support, and a caring presence, but I sure am NOT going to argue with them.
The patient's course is going to proceed; I just take care of them the best I can.
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