Joy Ufema MS, RN

May 2011 
Volume 41  Number 5
Pages 13 - 13
  PDF Version Available!

Last week I was assisting in the OR when the patient died. His wife was understandably shaken and asked me to call several relatives and inform them of the death. I was uncomfortable doing that, so I contacted the chaplain and I believe he made some calls. But I felt guilty later when I learned that the widow had made several calls herself. Was I wrong to pass on this task?-N.E., TEX.When patients die in the OR, the entire team is devastated. So don't judge yourself harshly.I believe letting the bereaved inform absent family members about a death can be of great value. As difficult as this may be for a tearful survivor, initiating the call helps advance the immediate grief work. Each time the widow says, "Bill died," she's taking a step toward accepting the reality of her loss. If you'd made those calls for her, she would only delay speaking words that she'll inevitably have to accept. So, without knowing the "why," you did make a kind and compassionate choice.As a nurse working in the

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