Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Patient's Death




I took this picture at Smathers Beach in Key West a few years ago. It is an amazing place to visit and I want to go back soon!

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I'm sure I have mentioned that I work in an ICU and a registered nurse. I love my job, I love what I do and I love the people I work with. We try to take the same patients back when they are in our unit for a long time. Most of us get attached to the patients and the families, I do.

Dealing with death is something we do on almost a daily basis. I have removed IV fluids and feeding tubes, I have given does after does of morphine to help with air hunger and pain to make the transition easier for the patient. I have sat in the room with families to hear their stories of the loved one in the bed and even held one or two as they cried.

Tuesday evening toward the end of shift my patient coded and died. He was only 42 years old but very sick. This one I am having a difficult time with for more than one reason. I did get attached to the family from the first day I took him as a patient last week. He was pulling through the traumatic surgeries and was remaining stable. There was no warning sign with him, he just crashed suddenly. We worked for a long time trying to get him back but, as I have said to my husband, when it's your time nothing can stop it. For the first time in my career I am going over and over in my mind the entire day and even the previous one trying to find a clue, wondering if there was something I missed. The nurse working beside me that day has said that I missed nothing, she was right there but still........................................... this one is haunting me.

6 comments:

DaisyBug said...

Hugs to you... they always try to tell me that people in the medical profession by necessity get hardened to these sorts of human dramas - but I believe the good ones always feel it - at least a little.

Don't try to own it - you did your best. It is not likely that you made a mistake - especially if someone else says you didn't. The future is promised to no one. This is why we must treasure every present moment that we have... It was his time. It was not your fault...

Hugs - again...

we_be_toys said...

God, how could it not haunt you? The fact that you are still brooding over it tells me what a wonderful nurse you truly are. I have a hard time emotionally understanding (I'm 45)how a 42 year old man can just up and die, but I know it does happen, and I'm grateful that he and his family were lucky enough, or blessed enough to have a kind and caring caregiver.

Thinking of you sweetie...

Saphira said...

daisybug & we be toys, thank you so much for the warm thoughts.

we_be_toys said...

Hi there! Just hoping you're doing okay - it's been awhile since you posted. Not that anyone should feel compelled to post - I certainly haven't been prolific lately! Just wanted to say that I was thinking of you!

fasthair said...

Ms. Saphira: I have a very dear friend who works the dialysis ward at a local hospital so she looses a few of her patients now and then. It’s never easy for her either because like you she cares for the ones she takes care of. But she knows she brought them a level of caring and kindness that at that point in their lives they really need. You are doing good work never forget that. God bless you.

fasthair

Webster World said...

You know you did your best. We the ones who have read this can feel it. My wife is a RRT in a children's hospital. She too has to do things she'd rather not. Taking a child off the vent at times has been very hard on her and some of the rest. Getting close to the family and all. It has to be very hard. She talks about her and the rest getting emotional. RN's and Dr's too. But my Paula is a God fearing person and it may be hard but praying and speaking out as you have said is the best thing one can do. May God bless your giving heart.