March 06, 2003
The Ultimate Insurance

Since my mom's a critical-care nurse I know that many times a DNR (do not resuscitate) order is ignored by doctors more interested in playing with the cool toys than obeying a patient's wishes. It came as no surprise to me that a lady getting "DO NOT RESUSCITATE" tatooed on her chest was also a nurse.

I was always given explicit instructions that it was OK to treat doctors like jerks because most of them are, but to treat nurses like goddesses because they're the ones who keep the doctors from killing you.

Posted by scott at March 06, 2003 11:09 AM

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Most nurses would also have DNR tatooed across their back just in case they are found face down. lol The real secret to getting your wishes followed is to have enough life insurance so that your family has no interest in keeping you alive(just kidding boys).Doctors cannot do any type of procedure without consent so make sure your family knows and will follow your wishes.Always remember too, "It takes a nurse to save your life and to protect you from doctors!" This is especially true in a teaching hospital. Just ask Joannie da Goddess!

Posted by: Pat on March 6, 2003 01:45 PM

My mother had one nurse try to kill her. She went in and told the nurse about bleeding and lower back pain she was having, and requested that she be examined for uterine cancer. The nurse, however, insisted that she just had a bladder infection, and told her to take antibiotics. Mom insisted on seeing the doctor, and the nurse stormed off in a huff.

When the doctor came in, he asked my mother what her symptoms were, and when she told him, the doctor glared at her and asked, "Why did you tell my nurse that you just had a bladder infection?" Turns out the nurse had lied to the doctor because she was so offended that my mother was ignoring her medical "expertise."

An MRI revealed that my mother had stage 3 uterine cancer, and if she had delayed another month or two in seeking treatment, her chance of survival would have been less than 50%.

Thankfully, by some miracle the cancer hadn't metastasized yet, and she's fully recovered now from both the cancer and the surgery to remove it.

Moral of this story: Don't assume it's always the doctor that's incompetant. Being a good judge of character will help you more than all the anecdotes everyone in the world could tell you.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on March 6, 2003 04:31 PM

Tatterdemalian, it is outside of the "scope of practice" for a nurse to diagnois any type of illness. I have never worked in any kind of setting except a hospital and would never expect an office nurse to give me a diagnosis. I would run from a doctor's office who let his staff do this. BTW most of the office nurses are not RNs but sometimes just a person the staff has taught to take a blood pressure, weigh, and write a short note with initial complaints. They are rarely RNs cause most doctors are too cheap to pay an RN salary. Sorry this happened to your mom and I am very glad she had a good outcome.

Posted by: Pat on March 6, 2003 05:57 PM

My Mom had her life DRAGGED ON for 3 extra months by a doctor who had his own 'life' hang-ups and refused to take the DNR/NEM orders as legal orders. Fortunately I had the legal papers to change doctors for her so that stopped when I found out what was going on.

Posted by: MommaBear on March 6, 2003 08:18 PM

Now, in all fairness, the reason some doctors ignore DNR orders is because some doctors still take that Hippocratic oath seriously.... and it lies beyond the capacity of due conscience for them to let someone die, even in the most desperate of cases.

And I've heard plenty of "killed by a shitty nurse" stories, too...

Posted by: RHJunior on March 6, 2003 11:09 PM

Usually a DNR order is ignored when even one family member disagrees. It is not through a doctor's wanting to follow the Hippocratic Oath, which states "first do no harm", Not treat beyond all reason. It is ignored because of the fear of a law suit. Lawyers and insurance companies currently make most of the decisions concerning treatment of patients.

If you want to really be sure your wishes are followed fill out the form that gives someone of your choice, a "Durable Power of Attorney for Medical Decisions" This is a legal ducument that will stand up in a court of law, which is what the DRN order is suppose to do. DNRs are usually very vague and open to interpretation.

RH have you personally had a bad experience or are these just stories you have heard. There are bad nurses just like there are bad people in every field. Most of us, however, work long hours,under incredible stress with low pay and very little appreciation. Most of us cry with a family who is loosing a loved one, we have all been through this type of situation. We do view death as a blessing, at times, since we have learned that the machines and medicines we have can keep people alive beyond any reason. Also I find family members who want "everything done" usually have unresolved issues.

Oops sorry for the rant. Ignoring a DRN order is one of my biggest problems with the current practice of medicine Working in a teaching hospital gives a whole new meaning to the term "Practice Medicine"

Posted by: Pat on March 7, 2003 09:41 AM

Ok, I've gotta chime in here.

If someone doesn't do their job (by obeying the law), then they should be fined the first time, very heavily the second time and loose their job the third time. So they can't screw up anymore.

BTW, of each of the doctors offices that I've visited (and there have been quite a few in my many years), there has been an RN in nearly every one. I don't want to go to a place like that without one.

Yeah Pat, those doctors need to make sure they are making more than the lawyers.

Posted by: Cindy on March 9, 2003 08:45 AM
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