Have you ever lost a patient and if so how did you handle it for the first time

  1. Hello my friends! This question is just a point of curiosity with me. I Know that all of you are experienced caregivers,so I want to know how you got through it when you lost your first patient. If I know me they'll be scraping me up off the floor when it happens to me. So tell me, hoe did you handle it and who got you through it? p.s. I'm feeling a lot better tonight. I am going to make an appointment with my Dr. this week. Warrior Woman
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    About warrior woman

    Joined: Jul '02; Posts: 2,268; Likes: 5
    LPN,EMT,CPR Instructor


  3. by   bandaidexpert
    I started as a NA when I was 15 y/o. My orientation consisted of, go to that room and put that lady to bed.(this was 25 years ago)When I went to this little lady's room I found her watching TV, sitting quietly in her w/c. She asked me to take her to the bathroom. I had NEVER done this before. I wheeled her in the BR and she told me to pick her up, she would hold onto my neck. I did this without too much effort. She weighted all of 80 pounds. I waited while she did her thing. When she said she was finished, I picked her up just like I did to get her there. On the way to the w/c she died!!! I absolutely flipped out. But....something inside me told me to put her to bed just like I would if she were alive, remove her dentures and call the charge nurse. This was my first night as a NA!! I went home to my RN mother and told her I would never go back. I worked there for 11 years!!! This little lady made me realize my calling. It amazed me that I just knew what to do. Oh, well, I have been doing it ever since.
  4. by   mark_LD_RN
    i have lost a few patients some are harder to take than others. i just pray with them help comfort the family the best i can. remeber it is ok to cry. i go home to my family hug my wife and children
  5. by   Jenny P
    My first time a patient died for me, I had to help the mortician move the body onto his guerney (I was an aide in my hometown nursing home during high school, and this was probably the first week I worked there). First off, I tried to pull her over onto the guerney by reaching under her legs, and my hand flew up in the air! I didn't know she had an aputation! Then we bumped her butt sliding her over; and she sat up and stared at the mortician and told him he couldn't take her yet- she wasn't dead! (Turns out, she was catatonic-- when she DID die, we let rigor mortis set in before we called the funeral home the 2nd time).

    I learned long ago that death is just another part of life, and it is not a personal insult to the health care team when someone dies.
  6. by   Tookie
    I can still see this - 1969 - l hadnt even turned 19 in my second ward rotation - I am hospital trained - originally
    Had to assist this solid earthy looking greek man - IN a hospital in Queensland - I was helping him with his breakfast - porridge. - he jhad previously had had a stroke - he had another as l was spooning in the porridge. - First time l had seen someone die - l thought l had killed him

    I cried for a while in the pan room - had a senior nurse comfort me and then tell me to 'get omn with it' - I helped lay him out
    It was both a high and a low poitn
    My first - and l got through it and l realised that it was not my fault
    It was sad to see such a strong man to die that way - but good too that he didnt linger for a long way - l still have many rather mixed feelsings about it all - we were really encouraged in thpose days - to cry, discuss it or talk about it - until you got off duty and you then did that with your fellow students back in the nurses quarters - after all we all had to be there 'locked in' before 11pm - but that is toltally another story.
    Fisrt death - hard experience but l think retrospectively - happy then with my decision to be a nurse- I stayed.

    Now all l want to be able to do is to help other nurses cope with this expeience and to see that it can be a positive and meaningful time. And for them to be prepared for it and to talk about is later - to understand that this is part of our nursing skills

  7. by   Tookie
    Yet again apoligise about my typing and spelling skills
  8. by   mattsmom81
    So true...patients' deaths can be hard on nurses especially when they are young...childrens' deaths bother me particularly...and sometimes we feel badly and question our performance.

    I believe as Jennie does that death is the final stage of life and it will happen in spite of the arrogance of medical professionals.

    There are many things worse than death, I have discovered, and I have cried with patients who express they wish they would die....but will not be for sometime. Yet they suffer so...that is hardest for me and relief of suffering is always a priority in my care of patients.

    I kinda like the New Orleans traditional funerals...they party! and have a parade like procession...and celebrate the passing of a loved one to a new dimension.
  9. by   Nurse Ratched
    With all the deaths I had witnessed as an aide starting at age 16, I was amazed that I cried when I lost my first patient as a nurse. The person was young - mid 40's - cancer - nothing to be done, but I had this awful feeling when she died that I should have done more. It was a totally different feeling of heightened responsibility. Still breaks my heart to lose them, even when they're "supposed" to go. I can't imagine how a doctor must feel.
  10. by   finallyRN
    I remember my first death as a nurse because it was my first. I found her near the end of my shift. Called a code and started CPR. It was a very unexpected. I had a real hard time with it. My best release was talking to co-workers and my family. When I moved to L/D the loss of my first baby was hard. I still have trouble with the babies. I hope I never get used to it though!
  11. by   CATHYW
    Fortunately, my first death was a DNR, but I learned a lot from it. I'd had an elderly gentleman who was very near death (can't remember what his dx was), and was in isolation. This was 1983, too! Anyway, toward the end of my clinical day, I went into his room to check on him. He had been breathing very shallowly, so I watched for his breathing-it was abssent. I felt for his pulse, and there was none. So, I went to find my preceptor, and told her. She came with me, and sure enough, the man was dead. She told me that she always liked to pray with her patients that had passed away. She bent near his ear and whispered a prayer for him. Then she taught me very respectful PM care. After that, we took him to the morgue. Very peaceful, very respectful, no tears. I have cried with, and because of others, though!
  12. by   Amy ER Nurse
    My first was the most heartbreaking, and it was a child. She was 5, and had blonde hair and blue eyes just like my 5 yr old. She was climbing up on a table in a donught shop and it fell over on her, striking her across the chest. We coded her for over an hour without success. She was beautiful, and her name was Ariel. The heartbreak was worsened by seeing the grieving family. The mother was the last to get to the hospital, she had been told to come because there was an emergency. She assumed it was her father who had a significant heart history. When she arrived and saw her older child and not the other, she asked "where is Ariel?" Her 8 yr old responded to her "it is ok Mommy, she is gone to be an angel!" It broke my heart for her to hear that. Another was a 15 yr old male that successfully hung himself at the youth detention center. He was DOA, but we coded him for a short time. It broke my heart to see that he had braces on his teeth because I just kept thinking that parents that don't give a damn about their child don't spend thousands on braces! Someone loved him, and now he is gone. Another was a 6 yr old girl the week before Christmas. Her mother was driving and arguing with her over a damn cup!! Mom ran a red light, and the child was killed. Open skull fx. I was cleaning her up when the grandfather came in to view the body. He stroked her hair and said, " well, I guess Santa won't be bringing her her 2 front teeth for Christmas after all". ( She was missing her 2 front teeth )
  13. by   live4today
    The first patient that I lost was a 22 year old pregnant mom who was in a car accident (not her fault, but the other drivers fault). She was 9 months pregnant, and the baby died. Her husband and 4 year old were in the car with her, but survived the accident with minor scrapes and bruises. I cried for several days after her death. I just couldn't overcome the emotional aspect of losing someone so young and pregnant. :kiss
  14. by   mattsmom81
    'Ariel's gone to be an Angel"

    I cried reading your story...out of the mouths of babes...such a strong expression of faith.