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My patient died, I held his hand as he went to sleep and told him we'd look after him. Surgery didn't go well, the op was more extensive than expected. He didn't cope as well as we'd hoped things started going south. We couldn't get him back. It's not the 1st it's definitely not the last, but every time I have a little cry. I can't help feeling I could have done more. It's worse when they're young, it's worse when you hold their hands. It's never easy, I oftentimes wonder why I'm still here doing this job. Today's a bad day.

Josephine 7 May 1

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41 comments

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7

I have not had this experience. I do not know your pain.

I do know that you are strong, capable, resilient, and caring. You are impressive and I respect you for it.

I hope the sadness and feeling of, "could have done more," dissipate quickly.

Thank you for placing yourself in such a difficult line of work and thank you for doing it well.

5

Perhaps, you do the job because of the hundreds you work w/ that came through surgery/treatment and smiled afterwards? Think of the successes, not the opposite.

5

Instead of an apology for a feeling of responsibility I can’t even begin to imagine the weight of, I just want to say, thank you for all that you do and all that you do save.
May every saved life and their families thank YOU as well.

5

You are clearly passionate about your work and care about the patients you work with. I'd want a compassionate and caring nurse like you. That person was fortunate for having you to provide even the tiniest bit of comfort in their final moments. Thank you for being that person.

4

Thanks so much for having a loving compassionate heart and doing what you could. Many things in Life are beyond our abilities and sometimes Life is not fair, it just is what it is. I know such platitudes do not stop the pain and are not very comforting. I have held the hands of elderly people dying while I worked in health care too, and sometimes I felt honored and thankful to be a caring part of their last hours when they had no one else in the world who cared. But for the death of a child, who has not even had a chance to experience much of life, the pain must be unbearable. Be kind to yourself. hugs.

4

You did a good thing being there for somebody, and if it ever doesn't make you cry then that's when something is wrong, keep being amazing x

4

Thank you for the job that you do.

4

Your there because you also have good days.
Days where the odds are worse, the chances less, and yet you succeed and save the patient despite them.
Like I told my daughter (a surgical nurse), it can help some people to have a trophy case (in your hospital locker, desk ), something chock full of mementos of GOOD days, to help you bear the bad outcomes.

4

<3<3<3

4

Oh damn, was he elderly? That's pretty grim. Look you guys tried, and I'm sure that not everything can be known until the patient is actually opened up. I suppose other underlying issues can complicate how procedures progress. The outcome is never guaranteed is it.
What really stands out is the human aspect ...you held his hand. That would have been the one thing that would have given him tangible human support.
If it was me on the table and I didn't make it I would have appreciated the teams efforts to save me...but I would have mostly appreciated that an enlightened and compassionate human being had the heart to hold my hand..no promises..no guarantees but a hand to let me know that I am not going into the night alone. Well done.

4

I lost a few today too. It's hard. But you do it because there are twice as many that you save than you lose. Because they weren't alone when they went. Death is imminent but you help them. Focus instead on the lives you've saved.

I don't deal directly with patients except to call codes and emergencies, so my experience isn't as up close as yours, but I've watched a few deaths with my own eyes, and held a few as they died. It hurts so much. But when I save one it's worth it. My purpose on this planet is to help others. It always has been.

And I think it is WONDERFUL that you take time to mourn your patients that you lose. It shows you haven't become jaded. You still do it because you genuinely care. I've watched many doctors and nurses see the patients as just another room number. I slipped there once myself. The fact that you FEEL when you lose one, that means you are human still. And it means that life is valued by you. I hope you never lose that

4

It takes courage too do this.Respect due.

Coldo Level 8 May 1, 2018
3

That makes you human and compassionate. Thank you. My father died in hospice care, these people are so giving. Thank you!

3

Surgery is a gamble, not an absolution. It's better than doing nothing, but it's got risks but life is all about sacrifices for the better outcome

3

Your pretty amazing. Thank you for what you do. Peace.

3

Wishing you speedy recover, a warrior will get up to fight again. My step grandfather died in my arms in the ER. Death been around me since childhood when I lost my first best friend by 11, he was 12. Never going to be easy, you are a good human being... but you already knew that. Maybe is your reward to be their last contact during their passing. Wish you the best.

3

I'm so sorry. That has to be really tough. ❤️

3

So hard for you. As a cancer/leukemia survivor I marvel at life every day. I had some wonderful nurses when I was fighting for my life. Hopefully today will be a better day for you.

3

Hugs matey!! Have experienced similar in care work. Kids dying from missadventure mainly. People say don't get involved but you can't help it I feel.

Lots of hugs.

3

Josephine ... you're doing important compassionate work. It's particularly difficult in our death-defying culture. Europeans say about us: "There's one thing you've got to know about Americans; they think that death is optional." You know otherwise and you've chosen to be there to help those who need your gift. But it's a -burnout career so be sure you are getting enough support and that you're taking care of yourself. You're a hero.

3

I had a bad day too. I'm sorry to hear about your patient. It is hard to lose someone you know. My condolences to his/her family and to you.

3

So many wonderful things already said. Know that many are with you.

3

I don't know how you do it. I really don't. You have my complete admiration.

3

What you do is hard and under appreciated yet essential. You have empathy for the ones you care for giving them the best you have and that is a wonderful quality. You share the joy and satisfaction when they heal, You grieve for the ones you lose so cry, scream, punch a pillow, or have a temper tantrum. You are entitled. This is what makes you exceptional.

There will always be a "bad day" but please don't forget all the "good days", all the ones that got to go home to their families because you cared. Allow me to say Thank You.

Betty Level 7 May 1, 2018
3

I'm sorry that you're grieving, Josephine, but your grief means you've given a part of yourself. 'Tis love at its best! Humanity needs you and your ability to love. Wishing you all things rare and beautiful in your recovery.

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