Thursday, August 23, 2012

Am I losing my touch with humanity?

Lately on our unit we've had an increase in the amount of deaths. Now I understand that eveyone has to die, heck we don't live in the age of the bible/torah/quran and live to be 800 yrs+

That being said, we've also had people on our unit who are DNR (do not resuscitate) who I can't help myself in thinking that many of these people I would rather see die... but only because IMO they are suffering.

The last shift I worked was one such case - I had a patient who's not very old - I'd say youngish, on TPN (since like 2001/02), was severely emaciated, had several comorbidities and had been in and out of units (whenever he gets readmitted he gets put back on our unit for some reason - totally unrelated to the fact that our unit is for neuro pts) for like a year+.

During this last admittance, he suddenly started vomitting blood EVERYWHERE and had to have an emergency scope to have varices in his stomach banded/cauterized. When he returned back to us, he required like 6-10 units of blood, plasma, IV fluids, etc...

To see him, he was CLEARLY suffering - and I'm thankful that he passed because you could see that not only was he suffering, but so was his family.

Another pt we've had on our unit is an older patient who is also a DNR, tho has late stage dementia. She's been on our unit for several months I think and recently became a DNR, the family was in denial about her condition for so long. This woman moans CONSTANTLY, is completely delirious and is VERY difficult to take care of, emotionally and psychologically because there's nothing that we can do to settle her. Even super strong anti psychotics don't touch her. She's REALLY difficult to feed or get her to drink and therefore she's starving herself. At least with the DNR in place, we don't have to give her a feeding tube. I'm hoping that she's passed, her family is having such a hard time seeing her waste away, physically and psychologically. They cry almost every time they come to visit but know that a DNR is the best thing to do. Thank goodness!!!

We have another lady on our unit who's on restraints because she has a neuro disorder that causes these involuntary movements. Now, in our province, no LTC (long term care) facility will take a pt with restraints, and therefore must stay with us in the hospital. This family, tho will not make her a DNR. I don't understand why, or maybe the Dr hasn't talked/pushed the family into making her a DNR. It's not like this lady's condition is going to improve, it'll only get worse! It's a terminal disorder. And I certainly don't want to be pushing down on this lady's chest when the time comes that her brain is going to deteriorate to the point where she stops breathing and I have to call a code on her, because she isn't a DNR. SOOO frustrating. I am surprised tho that this family comes to the hospital DAILY - for lunch or for dinner and personally feed her. It astonishes me because you think that that would eventually fade.

My question to you folk out there.... have you ever thought about delaying calling a code on someone who should VERY obviously SHOULD be a code????

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