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Toni Talks about PT Today

My Patient Died

Published December 4, 2012 1:03 PM by Toni Patt

One of my favorite patients died last weekend. It wasn't unexpected. She'd been gradually deteriorating for the last few weeks. It was obvious by looking at her that she wasn't feeling well. She'd begun talking about stopping dialysis because it made her feel worse. Yet every day she was ready and eager for therapy. Even on her worst days, she wanted to at least try.

I feel very fortunate to have known her. Her daughter stopped by the department today to thank me for working with her mother. She told me her mother looked forward to our morning coffee before therapy. I was lucky. I was at work when the ambulance came so I had the chance to tell her goodbye. I don't always get that opportunity.

Patients die. Depending on the setting, it can be a regular occurrence. Both SNFs and ICU are places with higher death rates. ICU patients die because they're very sick or critically injured. SNF patient populations tend to be older with medical co-morbidities. Sometimes their bodies just wear out. I've had patients die before. It's not surprising. In many cases it's more like a permanent discharge. One patient leaves and is replaced by another.

This lady was special to me. I got to know her. Her death is a reminder to me that our patients are human.

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