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knocker

To resuscitate or not

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Very recently a friend of mine had a very upsetting experience. Her elderly mother, who has been chronically ill for some years, became worse and had to be admitted to hospital.

 

My friend and a friend of hers were sitting with her shortly after admittance when the consultant rheumatologist, one of her conditions is acute rheumatoid arthritis and drug regimes have to be carefully monitored, and explained to Linda that the drugs will have to be temporarily stopped. He then left.

 

Another consultant then entered to assess the severe lung infection that was the current problem. He performed a cursory examination and then looked up and said, “it is distinctly possible your mother will suffer a major heart attack and if this does occur we will not be resuscitating her as per hospital policyâ€.  My friend was speechless but not so her friend who bluntly told him his actions were totally inappropriate. For a start this should be discussed in private and not in front of a semi conscious patient.

 

The other consultant then re-entered the room and the two of them had a blazing row. They never saw the second consultant again.

 

Now apart from the obvious I wasn’t aware that hospitals had policies in place that allowed them to decide whether to resuscitate or not. My understanding until now was the decision was either the patients or the next of kin after consultation. You live and learn.

Edited by knocker

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Hospitals can have a default policy but if you request that she be resuscitated then they are legally obligated to so.

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Organ harvesting has become a profitable business for hospitals. I wonder whether that consultant had organs on his mind when he made that atrotious remark rather than considering the welfare of the patient before him in a measured way.  

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Hospitals can have a default policy but if you request that she be resuscitated then they are legally obligated to so.

 

No doubt true but in most cases you probably have no way of knowing whether they complied with these obligations.

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Hmmm.........I suppose I have experience of both sides.

 

My mum was in a hospice in the advanced stages of breast cancer.   A consultation meeting was held and I was asked if, should my mother slip fully into unconsciousness, and then arrested, did I want her resuscitated?   Knowing how my mum felt, that she wouldn't wish to be, made a difficult decision somewhat easier.   So yes, I was asked and my wishes respected.  Would they have been if my choice had been resuscitation?   Who knows.

My husband's mother on the other hand suffered a stroke.  She lay in hospital for 3 weeks and remained in an unconscious state.   The strange thing there was that we received a 'phone call in the early hours of the morning, to say that her condition was deteriorating and would we like to come in.   It could have been no more than 15mins until we reached the hospital (as I finished dressing in the car.)   To our amazement, we were told that she had already passed away.  We were shown to her room to find that she was completely laid out and a bible on her bedside table opened at the 23rd psalm. (within 15mins.?)  Let's just say that her body temperature appeared to be very low for someone who had just passed.

Was it that her death had gone unnoticed for some time and they were trying to cover themselves?   Or had her death been assisted earlier?

 

Is there an unwritten law?   Perhaps, who knows.   My mum was just 69 but my mother-in-law was 88.

Edited by Blitzen

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Had the same situation occur a few years ago with my grandad, he was lying there in the hospital bed, very disorientated having hallucinations and what not, kept falling out of bed, weakening himself day by day, I was there with my mum when the doctor came in and said that his health had deteriorated so much that he could go into cardiac arrest at any point, he was too weak to operate on. Whilst my grandad was still awake and listening to the doctor, the doc outspokenly said to my mother and me that if he was to go into cardiac arrest, 'it wasn't worth resuscitating him, even though there was still a slim chance of him recovering (by eating and drinking) his mental state was to give up, but none of the family wanted that, this was all to do with a stroke that he had, and recovered from.

 

 

The issue was after recovering, he wasn't monitored day and night by the nurses, and consiquently kept tryign to get out of bed during the night, didn't like to ask for help to go to the toilet, the falls out of bed damaged his health to the extent where he was very weak, this was down to the hospital miss-care. After the news from the doctor my mum broke down in tears and we decided he would fare better at home in his safe environment with us around him to care for him. Sadly he passed away a few weeks later.

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