Conspiracy of SilenceNancy Robertson, DNP Feb 1, 2022
She was seriously ill and no longer a candidate for any type of anticancer therapy including clinical trials. She was dying. She knew it. I knew it. Her oncology team knew it and the hospice admit nurse knew it. Yet, her lifetime attorney friend would not allow the discussion. As we rallied to get her the care she so desperately needed at home, the attorney threw up a wall at the same time he threw out the hospice nurse. He would not speak to me on the phone as I was “just a nurse”. He refused to entertain discussion around the end of life as only a “doctor” would know. He delayed her care and extended suffering in his conspiracy of not allowing the discussion of the natural course of life. He prolonged the silence and, in the end, did his dear friend a grave injustice.
As horrifying as this patient scenario was to bear, these types of situations have lessened considerably thanks to the heroic, formidable, and tireless work of nursing colleagues. Drs. Ferrell, Davis, and Lippe explore the history of the movement of palliative care nursing out of the darkness and into its place in the forefront. Please take a moment and read this amazing piece:
It is unfortunate that the attorney would not talk with a nurse. As a nurse was exactly the person he and his friend desperately needed at that moment.