Author Topic: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!  (Read 63591 times)

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Mental Magpie

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #135 on: December 29, 2011, 08:31:10 AM »
I was the deliverer of bad news once and there is probably a story being passed around my distant relatives about the time when Soandso died and his granddaughter was rude about it.

In my defense I was sound asleep when the person called and asked about my grandfather.

When I was 18, my beloved grandfather was dying of lung cancer. He was at my mothers house under hospice care when the end finally came (peacefully and gentle as my mother, my grandmother, and I sat holding his hands and singing to him). The rest of the family had dispersed to go handle whatever needed to be handled to arrange the funeral and the contacting of relatives and so on.

I was home alone and exhausted mentally and physically. I took a nap and was woken by a phone call from a distant relative. She asked me how he was doing. I answered, "Fine, I guess. He is dead now." and hung up the phone.

Looking back on that makes me squirm a little.  :-\

Ouch.

All I can hope is that the caller realized from your voice that you were mostly asleep.  As someone that was there when he died, I also give you a pass for being under enormous amounts of stress.  When my mom called me to tell me my dad had passed, the phone call was short.  I completely understand why she wanted to get off the phone.  I hope your relatives understand, too.

My condolences for your grandfather's passing.
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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #136 on: December 29, 2011, 04:49:44 PM »
My paternal grandmother passed away in October of 2010.  She had been ailing for quite some time; she was a diabetic who did not take care of herself, so all the issues that come with that were troubling her, as well as advancing Parkinson's disease and heart trouble.  She had been in a vegetative state for about three months when my father called me and told me they were planning to take her off life support and, as he put it, "Let her find her way."  I had not seen her for many years, but I remember her as a tough, no-nonsense, formidable woman.  I did not want to see what my mom later described as "all 98 pounds of her" comatose in a hospital bed.  I wanted to remember her the way she was.

As it was, my parents were going to fly to Thunder Bay to be there when she was removed from life support, and I was planning to join them later, when they were to call me to tell me Gramma had passed so I could be there for the funeral.  However, that meant that when they called, I was basically going to have to drop everything and head to the airport Right Now.  I told my manager at work, who was fortunately sympathetic and told me to just do whatever I had to do.  The owner, however, not so much. 

See, at the time I was working at a dog daycare, and my schedule was, I would work on the daycare floor in the mornings, managing the large dogs, and in the afternoons I would take grooming appointments.  I was the daycare's only groomer.  So when I told the daycare owner what was going on, and that at some point during the week it was likely that I was going to have to drop everything and leave at a moment's notice, her response was, "But what about the grooming customers?"  I just stared at her and said, slowly and distinctly, "My.  Grandmother. Is.  DYING."  Her response? "I know, but what about..."

I know interrupting is rude, but I broke in and snapped.  "I SAID, my grandmother is dying.  I am going to Ontario for her funeral.  I don't care what you tell the grooming customers but I'll bet they'll be a lot more understanding than you!"  Yes, I know it was rude, but I was upset and stressed out.  The owner looked taken aback; I'd never spoken to her...or any boss, really...like that before or since.

For the record, I made it to Thunder Bay for the funeral, stayed a few days, and was back at work the following Monday.  Total days of work missed?  Half a day.  I ended up leaving halfway through the day Thursday, the manager was smart enough to simply not book any clients on Friday, the funeral was on Saturday, after which I called the manager and told her I'd be back Monday.  She told me I could take a few more days if I wanted.  It was kind of her, but at the time I just couldn't afford to.  As good as the manager was, after that I just couldn't take the owner anymore and quit shortly thereafter.
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Elfmama

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #137 on: January 31, 2012, 03:45:31 PM »
My DD#2 found out about her friend's murder in a really bad way.

Since initials confuse the heck out of me in stories, I'm going to assign psuedonyms here.

DD#2- Terry
Her friend -- Jenny
Jenny's mother -- Debbie
Murdered friend -- Sarah

I didn't know Sarah, but in her teens Jenny was like our third daughter.

About mid-morning one day, I got a call from Debbie.  "I really need help.  Jenny just called me from school.  She and Terry and their friends are in the nurse's office in hysterics.  Their friend Sarah was  murdered by her ex-boyfriend over the weekend.  I'm at work and can't leave right away. Can you go to them?"

I said "I'm out the door, Debbie.  Do you want me to bring Jenny home with me?"  And I grabbed keys and purse and Elfqueen and booked.

We found half-a-dozen girls in hysterics, and it was good that there were two of us.  All we could do was hug them and rock them and let them cry and tell me the story.  :'(

They had found out via school grapevine. "Did you hear about that female dog Sarah?  She got herself murdered last Saturday." 

Dear gods.   "Got herself murdered" as if she had any responsibility for what happened.  Terry and Jenny grieved for several years over her death, but I don't think they'll ever forget how they found out.

Some deaths there's no good way to find out. Jenny's parents were separated, and her father lived out of state.  She called us in the middle of the night a couple of years later.  Her father had died the week before, but his body had just been discovered.  :(  Try hearing that from a police officer.
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violinp

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #138 on: January 31, 2012, 03:50:38 PM »
My DD#2 found out about her friend's murder in a really bad way.

Since initials confuse the heck out of me in stories, I'm going to assign psuedonyms here.

DD#2- Terry
Her friend -- Jenny
Jenny's mother -- Debbie
Murdered friend -- Sarah

I didn't know Sarah, but in her teens Jenny was like our third daughter.

About mid-morning one day, I got a call from Debbie.  "I really need help.  Jenny just called me from school.  She and Terry and their friends are in the nurse's office in hysterics.  Their friend Sarah was  murdered by her ex-boyfriend over the weekend.  I'm at work and can't leave right away. Can you go to them?"

I said "I'm out the door, Debbie.  Do you want me to bring Jenny home with me?"  And I grabbed keys and purse and Elfqueen and booked.

We found half-a-dozen girls in hysterics, and it was good that there were two of us.  All we could do was hug them and rock them and let them cry and tell me the story.  :'(

They had found out via school grapevine. "Did you hear about that female dog Sarah?  She got herself murdered last Saturday." 

Dear gods.   "Got herself murdered" as if she had any responsibility for what happened.  Terry and Jenny grieved for several years over her death, but I don't think they'll ever forget how they found out.

Some deaths there's no good way to find out. Jenny's parents were separated, and her father lived out of state.  She called us in the middle of the night a couple of years later.  Her father had died the week before, but his body had just been discovered.  :(  Try hearing that from a police officer.

Got herself murdered...that's just sick. So many hugs to everyone involved.

My dad had to leave school to identify the body of his murdered uncle. Apparently, the adults were too busy to take time off work, so it fell to the high schooler boy to see the gruesome sight.  :'(
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #139 on: April 19, 2013, 09:22:18 PM »
I know this topic is old, however I wanted to add something I witnessed a few years ago.

Two doctors at a hospital where I worked were discussing a patient that died unexpectedly. The doctor in charge of the patient had not spoken to the family yet. Unbeknownst to them the man's wife was in the hall going to the room, and heard the doctors talking. The wife's cell phone had died which made her unable to be reached. What a horrible way to find out that her husband died :(

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Minmom3

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #140 on: April 19, 2013, 11:24:57 PM »
Mymother and I lived 1500 miles apart. She died very unexpectedly at a young age. She had been admitted to a hospital for an ailment that is normally recoverable, which I knew. I had been in touch with the hospital several times and had confirmed that I was her emergency contact. On the second day of her hospitalization, my aunt called me at the crack of dawn to ask me when I was flying in.  "Why?" I asked. Silence, then my aunt said, "I guess they didn't tell you. When I called to check on her this morning -- expecting to talk to her like I did last night, the phone was re-routed to the nurse's station and they told me that overnight your mother became critically ill. She's now in ICU, but is not expected to  last the day." 

Total shock. I then raced around trying to get a flight, call work, deal with my young dd, etc etc -- all while dealing with the fact that I too was quite sick. In the midst of this mayhem, I called the hospital to reconfirm that I was her next of kin and I should be called about her condition and to complain that I had not been notified that she had taken a sharp and unexpected turn for the worst.

The nurse's response, "We can be on top of everything. This is your problem, not ours."

I did make it there before my mother died. After she died and we went to my aunt's house, the phone was ringing and my aunt grabbed it. It was the morgue at the hospital wanting to speak to me.

Them: "Hey. Whatcha wanna do with your mother's body? We need to know. We've called umpteen times and we need to know."

Me:  "Huh? It's 3am on Sunday morning. You need to know right now?"

Them: "Yeah. We can't just keep her dead body chilling here forever, you know."
:o

  :o :o

 :o :o :o

I would be reporting both of them.  I would not have been nice to that nurse.  "So ailing patients aren't your problem?  What the *naughty words* are you doing working as a nurse?!"

As for the morgue, what the?  Who makes calls at 3am and expects them to be answered!?

I am sorry about all of this, I can't believe those people put you through more in a difficult time.

I have a horrible 2nd hand morgue story:  Used to have a neighbor, who had married right out of high school when she got pregnant with twins with her boyfriend, only to find out that he was a heroin user and nobody in his family had bothered to tell her.  They got divorced a few years down the line, and a few years after that, she re-married.  Ex never turned his life around.  Went to rehab and got out a few days before his birthday.  Partied a bit too hard on his birthday, and died of an OD.  Friends brought him home to his current girlfriends home, rang the bell, and left him on the door step.  HOWEVER, because my neighbor was the mother of his only children, SHE got the middle of the night call, although she wasn't told for over a week that it was a drug OD, she was told it was a car accident.  And, as the mother of his minor heirs, SHE had to release his body to his aunt for burial, as his mother was in too poor health to handle anything.  She had to go down to the morgue and sign the papers to do it, too, she couldn't waive anything over the phone.  She fumed for months over that mess.
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kareng57

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #141 on: April 20, 2013, 12:35:53 AM »
I know this topic is old, however I wanted to add something I witnessed a few years ago.

Two doctors at a hospital where I worked were discussing a patient that died unexpectedly. The doctor in charge of the patient had not spoken to the family yet. Unbeknownst to them the man's wife was in the hall going to the room, and heard the doctors talking. The wife's cell phone had died which made her unable to be reached. What a horrible way to find out that her husband died :(


While this is terrible, I really don't think that there was any misconduct here.  Just very bad timing, no one was at fault.

BarensMom

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #142 on: April 20, 2013, 01:03:53 AM »
I know this topic is old, however I wanted to add something I witnessed a few years ago.

Two doctors at a hospital where I worked were discussing a patient that died unexpectedly. The doctor in charge of the patient had not spoken to the family yet. Unbeknownst to them the man's wife was in the hall going to the room, and heard the doctors talking. The wife's cell phone had died which made her unable to be reached. What a horrible way to find out that her husband died :(

While this is terrible, I really don't think that there was any misconduct here.  Just very bad timing, no one was at fault.

Two healthcare professionals discussing a patient in the hallway is a blatant violation of HIPAA.

One morning, my mother and I were eating breakfast.  The phone rings and I answer it.  It was the cousin who lived with my maternal grandmother.  Cousin tells me, "I think Grandma is dead.  She's cold and not moving.  I called the police."
« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 01:29:20 AM by BarensMom »

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #143 on: April 20, 2013, 09:38:49 AM »
Mymother and I lived 1500 miles apart. She died very unexpectedly at a young age. She had been admitted to a hospital for an ailment that is normally recoverable, which I knew. I had been in touch with the hospital several times and had confirmed that I was her emergency contact. On the second day of her hospitalization, my aunt called me at the crack of dawn to ask me when I was flying in.  "Why?" I asked. Silence, then my aunt said, "I guess they didn't tell you. When I called to check on her this morning -- expecting to talk to her like I did last night, the phone was re-routed to the nurse's station and they told me that overnight your mother became critically ill. She's now in ICU, but is not expected to  last the day." 

Total shock. I then raced around trying to get a flight, call work, deal with my young dd, etc etc -- all while dealing with the fact that I too was quite sick. In the midst of this mayhem, I called the hospital to reconfirm that I was her next of kin and I should be called about her condition and to complain that I had not been notified that she had taken a sharp and unexpected turn for the worst.

The nurse's response, "We can be on top of everything. This is your problem, not ours."

I did make it there before my mother died. After she died and we went to my aunt's house, the phone was ringing and my aunt grabbed it. It was the morgue at the hospital wanting to speak to me.

Them: "Hey. Whatcha wanna do with your mother's body? We need to know. We've called umpteen times and we need to know."

Me:  "Huh? It's 3am on Sunday morning. You need to know right now?"

Them: "Yeah. We can't just keep her dead body chilling here forever, you know."

What in the-  I'm with Mental Maggie!  Those women deserved to be reported for that! 
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #144 on: April 20, 2013, 09:55:56 AM »
My DD#2 found out about her friend's murder in a really bad way.

Since initials confuse the heck out of me in stories, I'm going to assign psuedonyms here.

DD#2- Terry
Her friend -- Jenny
Jenny's mother -- Debbie
Murdered friend -- Sarah

I didn't know Sarah, but in her teens Jenny was like our third daughter.

About mid-morning one day, I got a call from Debbie.  "I really need help.  Jenny just called me from school.  She and Terry and their friends are in the nurse's office in hysterics.  Their friend Sarah was  murdered by her ex-boyfriend over the weekend.  I'm at work and can't leave right away. Can you go to them?"

I said "I'm out the door, Debbie.  Do you want me to bring Jenny home with me?"  And I grabbed keys and purse and Elfqueen and booked.

We found half-a-dozen girls in hysterics, and it was good that there were two of us.  All we could do was hug them and rock them and let them cry and tell me the story.  :'(

They had found out via school grapevine. "Did you hear about that female dog Sarah?  She got herself murdered last Saturday." 

Dear gods.   "Got herself murdered" as if she had any responsibility for what happened.  Terry and Jenny grieved for several years over her death, but I don't think they'll ever forget how they found out.

Some deaths there's no good way to find out. Jenny's parents were separated, and her father lived out of state.  She called us in the middle of the night a couple of years later.  Her father had died the week before, but his body had just been discovered.  :(  Try hearing that from a police officer.

That's awful!! 
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

nuit93

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #145 on: April 20, 2013, 07:49:12 PM »
Ten years ago (next month, actually) a close friend of mine committed suicide.  I found out he had died many months later, and how he had died not too long after that.

His parents had gotten the call when they were on the way to the airport to pick him up from college.  They didn't tell his sister HOW he had died, and she didn't know for the longest time how to reach out to his friends to let them know.  She ended up sneaking into his room when they weren't home and finding his phone book, so I got the call around October.  It wasn't until the following January or so that his parents would even tell her how it had happened.

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #146 on: April 21, 2013, 12:48:11 AM »
I know this topic is old, however I wanted to add something I witnessed a few years ago.

Two doctors at a hospital where I worked were discussing a patient that died unexpectedly. The doctor in charge of the patient had not spoken to the family yet. Unbeknownst to them the man's wife was in the hall going to the room, and heard the doctors talking. The wife's cell phone had died which made her unable to be reached. What a horrible way to find out that her husband died :(

While this is terrible, I really don't think that there was any misconduct here.  Just very bad timing, no one was at fault.

Two healthcare professionals discussing a patient in the hallway is a blatant violation of HIPAA.

Exactly. That's why I posted it in this thread of "Bad ways to get bad news." I hope they were fired. Unfortunately, I don't know whether they were or not, as I changed hospitals shortly after the incident.

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kareng57

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #147 on: April 21, 2013, 12:52:26 AM »
I know this topic is old, however I wanted to add something I witnessed a few years ago.

Two doctors at a hospital where I worked were discussing a patient that died unexpectedly. The doctor in charge of the patient had not spoken to the family yet. Unbeknownst to them the man's wife was in the hall going to the room, and heard the doctors talking. The wife's cell phone had died which made her unable to be reached. What a horrible way to find out that her husband died :(

While this is terrible, I really don't think that there was any misconduct here.  Just very bad timing, no one was at fault.

Two healthcare professionals discussing a patient in the hallway is a blatant violation of HIPAA.

Exactly. That's why I posted it in this thread of "Bad ways to get bad news." I hope they were fired. Unfortunately, I don't know whether they were or not, as I changed hospitals shortly after the incident.


Okay, I don't want to get this thread locked but I'm in a country that is not governed by HIPAA.  Not all hospital rooms are private and it's very possible that a patient's roommate could end up overhearing medical information.  Definitely not ideal, but just the way that it is, here.

Iris

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #148 on: April 21, 2013, 05:08:16 AM »
*snipped*

One morning, my mother and I were eating breakfast.  The phone rings and I answer it.  It was the cousin who lived with my maternal grandmother.  Cousin tells me, "I think Grandma is dead.  She's cold and not moving.  I called the police."

I can kind of see this. Late-ish at night one night I heard a knock on the side window of my house. It was my elderly neighbour saying "Can you come help? I can't wake *husband* up and he's all cold." She was really just in total denial that he'd gone, even though it had been coming for a while. Walking over there is the only time in my life I've ever given myself a pep talk actually out loud.
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Twik

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Re: Funeral: How Not To Deliver Bad News !!!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #149 on: April 22, 2013, 11:56:53 AM »
*snipped*

One morning, my mother and I were eating breakfast.  The phone rings and I answer it.  It was the cousin who lived with my maternal grandmother.  Cousin tells me, "I think Grandma is dead.  She's cold and not moving.  I called the police."

I can kind of see this. Late-ish at night one night I heard a knock on the side window of my house. It was my elderly neighbour saying "Can you come help? I can't wake *husband* up and he's all cold." She was really just in total denial that he'd gone, even though it had been coming for a while. Walking over there is the only time in my life I've ever given myself a pep talk actually out loud.

Yes. The cousin here isn't breaking bad news badly - they're in shock and looking for help, or at least to be told they've done what they can.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."