I was an acute hemodialysis nurse for thirty years, caring for thousands of patients over that time. The most important thing I learned was listen to your patient. I’d cared for Miss Ann for many years, through numerous hospitalizations, surgeries, and procedures. Prior to this admission, she’d told her husband, “I don’t ever want any more surgery.”
Unfortunately, this time she was in ICU on a ventilator and couldn’t speak for herself. She appeared to be unaware of what the doctor was explaining to her, so he asked her husband for surgical consent. Sadly, her husband refused, citing Miss Ann’s intention not to have surgery again. Meanwhile, behind the two of them, Miss Ann was frantically waving her arms trying to get their attention. She wanted surgery.
Miss Ann got her surgery, recovered, and did well for quite a while after that.