Thursday, July 2, 2009
Giving bad news
Telling a family about a death is always a challenge. Particularly when the death is not expected and I don't speak enough Swahili to explain what has happened. Yesterday, I coded a woman who another colleague had done a hysterectomy on because of chronic pelvic pain. The woman just stopped breathing and I suspect had a massive pulmonary emboli that caused her death. When her husband, brother and friend arrived later to see her, myself, the nurse in charge and 2 chaplains, gave them the news. This was the first death in maternity in over 18 months. Very different from my experience at Tenwek where we had several maternal deaths a month. I'm grateful for the comfort and presence the chaplains provide because inevitably I'm paged as the family is grieving and need to leave.