August 2004, Volume 34 Number 8 , p 66 - 67
© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 34(8) August 2004 p 66–67 Saying the right thing [INSIGHTS ON DEATH & DYING: REMOVING A VENTILATOR]
UFEMA, JOY RN, MS
My wife is a nurse who's read your column for years. She suggested I write to you about something that's worrying me .
I'm a physician who's just started my residency. Sooner or later, I'll have to remove a terminally ill patient from a ventilator. What can I possibly say to the family that won't add to their pain? —J.S., IND.
You sound like a gem, and I think your wife and your patients are blessed to have you.
The most important thing is to be kind. Families will always remember you in a good light, regardless of the gravity of the situation, if you come across as sincerely sorry for their impending loss.
Communication starts with body ...