People who work in the medical profession are involved in some of the most intimate times in a person’s life.
They are with us when our babies are born, as our children are raised, when our loved ones are diagnosed with terrible illnesses and yes, when people die.
I was recently scrolling through Rediit when I came across a question that caught my interest. In it, user freeshavacadont asked:
Medical workers of Reddit, what were the most haunting last words you’ve heard from a patient?
The replies wer so raw and honest that I had to share some of them with you.
A family friend had a very young niece that was dying from cancer. Her parents were there to comfort her in the final hours, and one of the last things she asked was "How do I die?".
From the mouths of babes. I can't imagine how her parents must have felt.
“Thank you” from a little old man with stage 4 lung cancer. He had no family so I stayed after my shift ended. He just didn’t want to die alone and I refuse to let it happen. Dunno why but it still makes me cry when I think of it.
That one brought a tear to my eye too.
I was about five or six when my grandfather was on his deathbed. The last thing he did was put his hand on my shoulder and said, "No wonder you never liked my spicy food." and then he passed about ten seconds later. We were all super confused. About three months later I almost died from suffocation after eating some salsa. At the hospital I was diagnosed with a capsaicin allergy (Spicy food). To this day it still creeps me out. No one knew I was allergic before then, and I didn't show any signs either.
That one gave me full body shivers.
It wasn't words, but the most haunting death was a patient who was DNR, through her and her family's wishes. She was losing her battle, and her family wasn't there. She was getting frantic and looking around and half sitting up in bed, and a nurse with more experience than me, took her hand and calmly said, "it's ok. You're not alone. We're right here with you; it's ok to leave." The patient immediately calmed, put her head back on the pillow and died.
I truly believe that being a nurse is a calling in life.
(Nurse) In hospital caring for 40ish man with brain tumor, coming in and out of consciousness. Not to be resuscitated. His 16 year-old daughter was crying non-stop for 12 hours. His wife, who had been given a few months to prepare herself, was calm and focused on her husband. I had to routinely check his level of consciousness which involved talking to him in a loud voice (responds to auditory stimulation), which I did not like to do. So I asked his wife to do the loud voice part, so the voice he would hear would be hers not mine, and she did so without hesitation. The only response we observed with. her vocalization was that this by now profoundly unconscious patient took her hand to his lips and kissed it. He stopped breathing very soon after that. I am haunted, but not in a bad way.
Talk about true love.
Not the very last words, but I had a patient in her early 20s who was severely thrombocytopenic and bleeding profusely for days ask me if she was going to make it, I had to look her in the eyes and tell her there is a good chance she wouldn't. I thought she would bust into tears but no, she just kind of sat back and accepted it, I think she already knew. She died shortly after I got off shift.
I can't imagine having to tell someone that.
With wide eyes, "Don't listen to my family, they want to keep my around forever but I just want to die. They won't let me."
This would break me.
"You tell that man to get out of here right now!" she screamed while starring behind me, eyes sharp and focused on something. Me, in the middle of the night. While I was working the haunted hall, by myself.
All of the heebie's, and most of the jeebies.
"I see the man in the corner again." There was no one but she'd been seeing a dark man in the corner for days and asking about him. Toward the end, this was all she talked about beside crying for her mother. Cancer.
These next two definitely creeped me out.
Paramedic here. I was transporting a cardiac patient and while we were both watching my EKG monitor, he went into Vfib, a lethal heart rhythm. His heart stopped pumping blood effectively at that point but there was enough blood pressure for a few seconds of consciousness. He looked at me and said "But I don't see the light." and went unconscious. Coded him, shocked him a few times, meds by the handful, but he died.
Hospice nurse here- had a patient who was experiencing terminal agitation. With an expression of complete terror on his face he said “help me! They are coming to get me.”
This last one had me in tears and shows the true compassion and love for the job that most mediacal workers possess.
My husband is a PICU nurse and one morning he came home in a bit of a daze. I asked him what was wrong and he told me about a little boy who had been in PICU for a few days already and wasn't getting better. Most nights, the little boy would wake up so one of the nurses would keep him company while he fell asleep again. My husband was doing just that, he read him a book then just sat there with the boy listening to music so he would go back to sleep. Before falling asleep the little boy said "You were my favorite". The boy passed away in the morning, his little heart gave out and refused to restart.Although all patients are important, some leave more of an impression than others. Until that point, that little boy hadn't stood out to my husband and he felt terrible about it because, clearly, he had made a big impression on that little boy. That was the only patient's funeral he has ever attended.
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