Thursday, December 08, 2011

sorry, Mom died

People react to death in many different ways.

Some people wail. Thats the worst for the staff, to hear somebody crying loudly. ER folks are good at putting things in a box and moving on. We tell ourselves things like: they were old, it was there time - its better they died they would suffered, etc. When somebody is crying loudly it forces us to face that this was a human being and someone loved them and now they are very sad. It bothers us because our coping mechanism is shot to hell.

As a nurse in the ER, it is ackward dealing with the family of someone who died. What do you say? You didn't know their loved one. All you can really say is that you are sorry. I don't stay in the room long. I check on them often, but leave them alone.

Some people say thier goodbyes quickly and leave. Some people want to stay a long time and have all the family members come. Some people don't know when to leave.

There have been times when a body has been in the ER for hours, as the family waits for other people to come. Its a very tough situation. On the one hand, you want people to be able to say their goodbyes, on the other hand we can't have bodies sit in the ER for hours. Its very delicate to handle.

Strange things happen around peoples deaths. I have had calls as charge nurse a couple of days later with questions about the circumstances of the death, things like: Why did you------? Usually I wasn't there. Its ackward. People have wanted to go get something out of the pocket of the deceased in the morgue. Late arrivers have wanted the body brought back up from the morgue.

Its weird seeing a dead person, knowing their life is gone. People sometimes appear younger in death, all of their tension and stress gone.

In ER, we can't spend much time thinking about death because there's a line a triage..


Anonymous said...

In Sweden, most ER's has a special small department with for example two rooms where people can say goodbye to their loved ones. Often atleast one nurses aide is chosen every day to have the full responsibility to take care of the relatives. The departments have thier own entrance but is connected to the ER and is often named something like "room for goodbye".
/Amanda, RN-student from Sweden

girlvet said...

Wow I wish we had something like that. It is difficult to help a family in the middle of a busy ER.

Anonymous said...

awk·ward (├┤kwrd)
adj. Not graceful; ungainly.

I believe ackward is what Bill the Cat was.