The first clinical task of the morning was to take care of the patient who had died overnight. The family had been holding their vigil for the previous days. There had always been someone there at all times. They didn’t want our patient to be alone. Having the family staying had helped to make our patient more comfortable.
The patient had died three hours ago. Their skin was cold to touch. Pulses were absent. There were no heart or breath sounds during one minute of listening. The pupils did not react to light. Confirmation of death would be followed by certification of the death.
Cause of death was recorded on the death certificate, in as simple terms as possible. Our patient had died of metastatic cancer.
A letter was written to the general practitioner as we didn’t want there to be any surprises.
The dead person needed to be treated with as much respect as the living.
Their family needed to finish their vigil, and to move on.
The funeral director was called and they came to collect the body.
Rest in peace.