Good evening. I am new to this forum, but anxiously hoping for an answer to a recent dilemna. I am a registered nurse. I work at a local hospital on a med/surg (medical surgical) unit. As a new Catholic (only 3 years) I am lacking in many areas with regards to Catholic doctrine. More specifically, the care of the dying patient. Last week I was assigned to a 90 year old woman who was being given “comfort care” due to her medical diagnosis. She was in a coma and the decision was made by her family and physician for the type of care she was to receive. She had already been there approximately 5 days before I first cared for her. My question is this: isn’t there a minimum of care that the Church deems necessary for the care of the dying patient? This particular woman was not receiving any hydration or feeding. We were only to make sure she was turned and cared for hygenically. When I left at the end of my shift, I felt sick because of what little I had actually done for her and because she had no one there with her ( no family came to visit). I did not receive Communion Sunday because of this incident…I felt in my heart that I had been complicit in something horrendously wrong.
Should I have refused to take her as a patient and asked for another assignment because of this? What are the Church’s teachings on death and dying. I am heartsick.