I was working as a nurse on the cancer floor at my local hospital when another nurse’s patient was in the process of dying. It was obvious that he probably wouldn’t live but about another day at the most.
His family was staying with him, although he was unconscious. After a few hours, his vital signs and respiration improved, making his nurse believe that his condition had stabilized somewhat. Because the family members were exhausted, the nurse suggested that they take a break and go home for awhile. They lived several hours away, but decided to leave anyway.
Soon after the family members left, the patient began to get worse again. The nurse called the family members to come back, but the patient died before they arrived. The body had to stay in the room until the family could get back and make arrangements with a funeral home.
Within a few minutes of the man’s death, the ‘call nurse’ light came on in his room. Then the light came on in the next, then the next. This continued throughout all of the rooms, one by one, in order until every call light was on. They had started in the deceased patient’s room and had continued to light up all the up one side of the hall, then crossed to the other side and lit up all the way down the hall, then crossed back over to the original side and lit up all the way to the room where it had all begun. This happened even in the empty rooms.
We had a nurse on our staff who was known to be a practical joker, so we all immediately accused him of trying to pull a prank. He had been away from the nurses’ station when the lights had come on. However, he swore he didn’t do it. We all went to our assigned rooms and turned out the lights. We also went to the empty rooms and turned those off as well.
About 15 minutes later, all of the call lights came on again. Once again, they started in the deceased patient’s room and circled around to there. Every light was on, even those in the empty rooms, just as before. This time, the nurse with the “jokester” reputation was sitting next to me at the nurses station. All of us got up and turned all of the lights off again. When we were finished, the nurse in charge called the hospital electrician to come and check on the call light system.
Of course, he reported back that there was no problem with any part of the system.
At this point, some of the nurses began to whisper and joke about the patient’s ghost being angry because his family wasn’t there. Everyone figured that if it was his ghost, the problem would either stop when the family arrived or stop after the body was removed.
Eventually, the family did arrive and a local funeral home was called to come pick up the body. None of us said anything to the family about the call lights. However, while they were in the room waiting for the body to by removed, the call lights did their thing again. That patient’s nurse didn’t want to upset the family, so she left that light on. All of the others were turned off again.
We relaxed once the body was taken, because we believed the problem was over. The nurse went in and turned off that light and we started concentrating on our charting on the computers at the nurses’ station. However, about 30 minutes later, the lights came on, starting in the deceased man’s room again.
After we had all gone around to the rooms to turn them off yet again, I slipped quietly into the “haunted” room. I talked to the deceased about how sorry I was that he had died and that his family wasn’t present when he did. I apologized for the nurse’s mistake in sending the family home at such a critical time. Then I told him that he was jeopardizing the care of other patients because we nurses couldn’t concentrate on our work. Finally I asked him to move on and prayed for the peace of his soul.
Now, can I swear that there was a ghost in that room? No, because I never saw or felt the presence of a spirit. However, after I talked to him and prayed for him, we had no more problems with the call lights!