Improving medical students

Forum Filter: Dealing with Death

Posted by medliorator on June 1, 2007

Watermen – How do you think student should deal with patient dying on the OR table?

RockShox – in general, you help close, scrub out, help clean up and transfer the body where ever it is going. If you mean emotionally, well, it can be unusual and weird but it always is when someone dies. If you mean like the resident cut the aorta thinking it was bowel well then keep your mouth shut until asked to open it.

JPHazelton – Patients dying will become more and more common as you go through your clinical years. You will see death in all ways. Just remain respectful and realize that this is a person on the table, and they don’t become a “body” until they are in the morgue. Humor [is an inappropriate] “coping mechanism” for death. As a student your only role is that of quiet observer. You are there to watch and learn.

ericdamiansean – You get used to it, but if it disturbs you, talk to someone

pillowhead – We had a patient die unexpectedly on my medicine team once and I thought the attending handled it really well by calling everyone together in a quiet room (tough to find in a county hospital) and spending five minutes talking about it before rounds to make sure any feelings were dealt with out in the open.

From Student Doctor Network forums


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