most memorable patient

  1. do you have a patient that stands out in your mind? i always remember a 98 year old woman from a nursing home that could tuck her knees under her chin when she sat. i gave her a crystal heart pendant which she loved. she had no family. recently we had a head injury who was 4 pointed when we got him. he was a terror when he started getting around. our facility is not locked down and we chased him from pep boys to peoples houses. he came to visit us recently and is 100 % back. it's so good to see. once when he had come out of his room naked from the waste down and fighting he tried to get in another residents bed. i, of course had to stop him and lead/force him back to his own room. as we passed the desk with all the other staff there including doctors he started screaming "rape. rape." i'll never forget him. j
  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   lpnandloveit1
    While working in a LTC we had a elderly VERY disoriented female resident. While in our care she had day surgery for basal cell CA on her face. Multiple hematoma's lots of ugly black sutures. In short she looked like a train wreck. Well she got out of the facility and while most of the staff was searching for her I was at the station (Only license in the Bldg.) and had called the police. In about 2 min a squad car came up and said a couple driving past the home saw her standing there and put her in their car drove her to the station and swore out complaints that we (the staff) had been seen hitting her with bats (we apperantly sutured and smacked her at the same time). We had to actually had to have the family release her records so that we would not be prosocuted.
  4. by   hoolahan
    My most memorable pt is one who I lost. We had an 8 year old child, here for repair of double outlet R ventricle, from Nicaragua. Her mother was not allowed to come with her becuase she worked for the gov't, so her grandmother was sent instead.

    This child was to put it simply, absolutely beautiful, and everyone fell in love with her on sight, her sweet nature was just a bonus. She went for surgery, and came out on a ton of drips, vented, very sick. I will never forget, giving report to a much more experienced peds nurse that morning and telling her they found 4+ regurg of the mitral valve on the post-op echo. She looked at me and quite coldly said, "Well, then she's dead. There's nothing we can do unless they take her back to the OR and fix it."

    Why they never did, I can only assume. At first they said she was too unstable, I could buy that, but later, some even suggested that it was so that if she lived beyond 30 days, it would appear as a successful db outlet RV surgery repair for the doc, then if she went back, she would die from an unsuccessful MVR, which I guess isn't as prestigious. This was at a time when those kinds of statistics were being used against surgeons. THat was the time I learned to hate that particular surgeon, I hated every cell in his body!!

    WE watched her suffer for 6 weeks, never able to get her weaned. We bought her dollhouses, books, dolls, crayons, PJ's, anything to try to cheer her up. She became severely depressed. Of course she only spkoe spanish, so you can imagine trying to lip read spanish, fortunately, our unit secretary did, so she was hooked as well.

    ONe night, she was extremely depressed. I had been working all kinds of OT with the condition that if I came in, I had her as my assignment. Anyway, I just knew she needed to be comforted, but the doc said she must remain on bedrest. I got the RT, and another nurse, and the 3 of us, moved her, the vent and all her drips, so that I could hold her in the rocking chair. Once the ordeal was over, and we were seated. She looked up at me, and lifted her emaciated arms to put them around my neck, and for a moment, I knew our souls had touched. About 15 minutes later grandmom came in, and was shocked to find her in the chair with me, happily shocked. WE then switched so grandma could hold her, it was beautiful to see them like that.

    About 3 days later, they announced they were taking her back for repair. I knew she wouldn't make it. I went to church and talked/sobbed to my Pastor, and we prayed together for her.

    She did die the following day, reports kept coming from the OR that she was doing well, but 20 minutes into the SICU, she crashed and that was it. They even tried to put her on bypass. Many nurses, most not peds nurses watched in horror, condemning the extraordinary efforts to save her. I personally would have taken her back under any circumstances, and I had my first insight into how the parents must feel in these situations.

    Prior to this, I did not allow myself to become attached to pt's since I feared the pain of losing them. This angel taught me that it is worth it. I have never regretted it. When she died, I felt like I had lost my own child. Our anesthesiologist bought her the most beautiful gown to be buried in, he sent it home with her body.

    One book I would recommend for any peds nurse is A Window to Heaven, forget the author, and I have long since passed on my copy. An excellent spiritual book about children's pre death visions.
  5. by   ucavalpn
    One of my favorite pt's was an 80'ish, confused at times gentleman .He would sit in his w/c out in the hall , sometimes looking so serious and sad . I'd pass by and say , you look like you need a hug . He always had a big smile after I hugged him . One day at the end of my shift . the kind of shift where you had way more to do than could be done and was thinking you would not live long enough to get out of there . I was finaly leaving , when he called me into his room . I asked what can I do for you ?
    He replied I don't need a thing , but you look like you need a big hug . He just made my day . With a hug , He turned a bad day into a good one .
  6. by   duckie
    There are so many of my residents that have left their mark upon my heart, but one comes to mind immediately. This is rather humorous but very sweet and meant a lot to me. His name was Glen and he was in his late 80's and had a big crush one me. He made no secret about his feelings for me with his family and they were very kind and caring to him, never making him feel silly or never told him it wasn't appropriate. He told me on a daily basis that he loved me and I always smiled and tried to keep it very appropriate. I loved him dearly as he was a very sweet and proper gentleman. I was dating my now husband at the time and Glen was not happy about it. When we announced we were getting married, Glen responded with digs at my soon to be hubby when he could get away with it. Once he passed him in the hallway and grumbled under his breath, "Get a haircut." ( My hubby has long hair ) He finally came to like my man and they too became friends. As Glen lay dying, it was me he asked for. I sat with him and his family was so kind and accepting of me, even in these weird circumstances. I know Glen knew we couldn't have a relationship, and he was never nasty or rude, just kind and always the gentleman in his expressions of affection to me. His family asked to have me sit with him as he was nearing the end. I sat by his side and as I touched his face I assured him that he had nothing to fear and it was okay to go if he was too tired to fight any longer. I bent down, kissed him on the forehead and as I sang to him, he took his last breath. His family hugged me so tightly that day and thanked me for never making him feel silly and for the care I had given him. My husband and I both cried that day. I lost a dear friend and I will always cherish his friendship.
  7. by   JenKatt
    There is one patient who's eyes are stuck in my head, I guess forever it seems.
    He was a beautiful 2 year old when I first met him. Long eyelashes, blue eyes, blonde hair, chubby cherubic face. And he wheezed. I could hear him from the doorway. He I was, a student nurse, looking at this little boy, 2 years old, who hadn't even learned to sit up yet. David was a trip. He smiled, giggle, laughed. We played paddy cake during his neb treatments. When I left that day I ran into his mother. She told me straight out that David did not like to be touched, he was a finiky baby. Another student told me the same thing, that David was plain crabby. I was expecting the worst the next day.
    I went to clinicals the next day to accompany David to am echocardiogram. David had been born with multiple heart defects. He spent most of his 2 years in the hospital. He never was able to develop normally. He couldn't even feed himself, no bottle or cup. He had a G-tube. His echo was to check to see if his last surgery was holding up, thankfully it was. While waiting for David to go back upstairs, I checked his chart. The social worker had written another note. David was to go into protective custody at the end of this admission. His parents refused to give up smoking, and as such were slowly killing this beautiful boy. This admission had been due to a severe asthma attack. He had been intubated and sent to PICU. This was the 5th or 6th time this year. All due to his parents smoking. The note in the chart said the ER staff each time noted a strong stench of cigarette smoke on his parents. His parents defended themselves by saying they no longer smoked in the house, only outside. And that should be enough. Unfortunatly for David his parents would pick him up as they came inside.
    I played with David that afternoon. His parents had left. He fell asleep in my laughed, loved to be hugged and giggled his heart out. My instructor said he wasn't like this with most people. He responded to me.
    I kissed David goodnight when I left.
    I came back the next week and he was gone, I hoped he had gone somewhere were he could breathe.
    A month later I get a job as a CNA in pediatric rehab. During orientation I flip thru a book of all current patients. There in the middle of the book is David's name. I almost cried. He got out. During the hospital tour I found David and hugged him. I swear he remembered me. He smiled and giggled. Over that summer I would spend time with David when I could. We would sit thru treatments together. We would laugh and play. He learned to sit up and sorta crawl. When I left to go back to school I prayed one night with David that someone would take him home and love him. His parents were fighting for custody, I was mad, they still hadn't given up smoking. The 2 times they visted that summer when I worked, they reaked. We had to ban them from him room. They always said they would come back. Never did.
    A year later I'm about to graduate college. My friend who worked the PICU at the hospital I did my peds rotation at called me to the side. David had been readmitted. He was in the PICU on a vent. He had gone home to his parents. He had been readmitted. Nothing had changed.
    And that folks is why Children's Protective Services, or DYFS in NJ is a major crock.
    Sorry I still bawl over my swett little boy.
  8. by   MollyJ
    *All of my case management clients and their families--for reasons which I will some day write about in a book
    *The three ding-dong teens (bless their hearts) in my career that came to the ED in labor and denying pregnancy (one of which delivered in the ED)
    *Two ED clients that I remember that out and out killed folks because of their drinking--one a mom whose drunk driving ejected her toddler from her car resulting in his death; the other a teen who went onto the freeway on an off ramp. His parents wouldn't come to the hospital to be with him.
    *The man who I had to tell his HIV test was positive
    *Collectively, the women who I cared for that had been raped. In general, they were often too "like me" for my own comfort.
    *The patient whose care caused me to become a key participant in a hospital law suit
    As they say in the lab "TNTC"...
  9. by   imaRN
    Years ago when I was a student nurse on a medical floor I took care of a lady who had been on the cover of our local newspaper The Akron Beacon Journal. She was featured as fighting Ovarian Cancer.

    Well I happened to be her student for the day, she was in as a hospice pt. and her sister was with her, who came and got me and told me that her sister had just died. I went into the room and done the normal thing (took vitals and of course she was dead)
    Then I went to my "Team Leader RN" she came and went over the paper work with the patient's sister.

    Then my RN told me to pack up the patients belongings and give them to the sister. I opened her night stand drawer and saw her purse and her checkbook fell out as my shaking hands started to lift it out of the drawer. ...

    Then it "HIT ME" This lady had come to the hospital as a functioning woman, mom of school age kids, and she was not
    "just a patient" with Cancer.

    That day I learned soooooo much!

    Mainly that people just don't plan on coming into the hospital and not going home again, even when they are terminal!!

    Life is sooooooooo short, I hope I do it justice and not waste any precious time,
    Thanks to that lady, I have never forgotten what she taught me with her death. It seems that everytime I have a pt. die I keep a little piece of them with me....imaRN
  10. by   Janet Barclay
    I have two that I still think about.
    The first was a 26 yr old with Marfan's syndrome who was dissecting his aorta from the arch to the bifurcation of the renals. The surgeons basically told him that he was going to die without surgery and that the surgery would probably kill him. He arrived in our CVICU post op and after a very difficult course including cavhd (remember before PRISMA), he finally died. He was blind and deaf, handsome and young. I remember looking after him one day when he was fairly alert and he drew letters on our hands to communicate. The message was L..E..T M..E.. D...
    he never finished the sentance. We finally gave him his wish after his Mom, who was an Australian GP got to Canada to be with him.

    The second is young lady who had a tubal after her last baby. She came to ICU with horrible sepsis from a perfed bowel. We flogged her hard with high dose inotropes, and dialysis. Finally she ended up a four limb amputee. This prompted a great deal of conversation in the ICU, with all of us constantly evaluating and reevaluating our modern medical miracles. If she had been mentally intact, I think we could have still called it a "save". Unfortunatley she is in a nursing home...
  11. by   debbyed
    Ther are many patients that I remember over the years some , some , some , but one recently actually motivated me to do something I should have done long ago.

    An Ambo from outside of our catchment area arrived one day with a 92 year old woman who lived way out in the country (That hospital was on by-pass. When undressing this poor soul I noticed her chest was horrible looking, weaping with a smell I never hope to experience again.(She covered the smell up by wrapping herself with rags and putting Vicks Rub on the cloth) Necrotic tissue every where. I asked the woman when she had had her mastectomy. Her answer really blew me away. "Honey" she said "I ain't never been to a hospital, Ain't never seen a doctor either. Had all my youngens at home with my sister to help. 12 of them I had, all healthy, never needed no hospital." The left side of her chest was as I described above and the right side looked like an old dried up apple (you know, the one's they make those ugly dolls out of)

    The pain this woman had suffered over the last 4 years (her estimate) was unimaginable to me.

    For the last 5 years my husband has harped at me to get a mamogram which I kept putting off. I'm 45 and very large breasted. Like many I just stuck my head in the sand, I didn't want to know. I know, I know nurses should know better.

    That morning when I got off work I went straight to the breast care center and scheduled an appointment. Not only that but I kept it as well. Everything was fine, although I told my husband that he should let me close the refridgerator door on his testicles so he would have an idea what it felt like.

    I'm not worried that I'll keep that appointment every year because I'll always remember that little old farmer lady who never wanted to bother any one or cause anyone any trouble. When her family came in, none of them had any idea that any thing was wrong. "She has always been healthy and done as she pleased"

    Well I plan to become a little old ladywho does what she pleases and a mamogram will be part of what "I please"
  12. by   maikranz
    The twenty-three year old with metastatic breast CA, with a 2y/o and an a*** for a spouse. She actually found the lump, pointed it out to her provider, and was told she was too young...

    The mentally retarded lady who came in on Christmas with an anaerobic leg infection because she had a puncture wound in her rear thigh >48h and was an extemely brittle diabetic.... I couldn't look at ham for years

    All those people whose numbers were good, but they died anyway. You know, the ones who, when you make your rounds, you KNOW in your bones are going to crash (and they do)

    The parents of the baby that they wanted so much and were finally able to have, after 7 years, and who died due to a nursery-acquired staph infection.

    The woman in the labor room next to me, with an epidural, screaming (yes, yelling) with a PACIFIER in her mouth!!! She delivered a 6.5# baby.