How long will someone surrvive after removal of life support?

  1. 0 I'm not sure where to post this question, but I hope this is the correct area. My grandmother was removed from life support two days ago due to not having a DNR. I was certain she would pass within a few hours, but she is still hanging on. She is on a morphine drip and they give her Ativan (sp) for seizures she is experiencing. In your experiences, what is the longest time you've seen someone surrive after being removed from the ventilator and artificial nurishment?

    I don't want to sound like I am rushing her to die, but she looks so uncomfortable laying there having seizures. Even though I don't think she is aware of anything going on or suffering, she just doesn't seem comfortable.

    Thanks for your responses.
  2. Visit  GeminiQueen profile page

    About GeminiQueen

    From 'Las Vegas'; Joined Jan '07; Posts: 20; Likes: 4.

    24 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  jmgrn65 profile page
    2
    people hang on because of unfinished business, they need to see someone first. Also sometimes they need to be told that it is ok to move on. The spirit of a person is awesome and what it can do.
    It is difficult to say how long someone can hang on after life support, can be hours or days.
    barbiee65 and Forever Sunshine like this.
  4. Visit  TazziRN profile page
    1
    I'm assuming you mean she has a DNR?

    It's different for everyone. Some pass within hours, some take days. It depends on the medical problem and if there is unfinished business.
    DeLanaHarvickWannabe likes this.
  5. Visit  chuck1234 profile page
    0
    Without nourishment...I have seen 6.5 days..
    Without life support...on morphine drips....10 minutes...
    Without nourishment and life support...it is hard to say....
    Each patient is different....
    I am sorry that your grandmother has to go through this....
    Good luck to you...and I hope God will be with her soon...
  6. Visit  Danish profile page
    0
    Quote from chuck1234
    Without nourishment...I have seen 6.5 days..
    Without life support...on morphine drips....10 minutes...
    Without nourishment and life support...it is hard to say....
    Each patient is different....
    I am sorry that your grandmother has to go through this....
    Good luck to you...and I hope God will be with her soon...
    That was very sweet Chuck
  7. Visit  CHATSDALE profile page
    0
    there was woman several years ago who took some valium after a nitht of drinking family had to go through the court to get permission to remove her from a respirator and the media went agog about it
    anyway after the respirator was finally removed she started breathing on her own, was finally moved to a nursing home, don't know how long she lived but it was several years
    depends on a lot of variables
    bless you at this time
  8. Visit  carolinapooh profile page
    1
    My father lived about seven hours. I know what the watching and waiting is like. I'm sorry you're having to go through this. If you can be with your grandma, I believe they can hear us - talk to her and let her know you're there. I stood beside my daddy for about four hours (I had been to the funeral home and made all arrangements, so I was gone about half the time) and just let him know that everyone was OK, we'd take care of Mama, and he didn't need to worry about any of us or anything here, that'd we'd handle it for him. My father was a worrier, and I didn't want him to wonder or worry anymore.

    I'd like to think I helped.

    Bless you and your family; I will include you in my prayers.
    blueheaven likes this.
  9. Visit  cardiacRN2006 profile page
    1
    I had a pt come in with CHF exacerbation while I was in externship.
    This patient had been hospitalized 8 months prior, and had treatment withdrawn. Extubated, comfort care, the whole 9 yards. He recovered and was discharged home.

    Had a pt the other night that we withdrew care on. Was on 3 pressors to keep her MAP at 50. Withdrew care, and she also was eventually discharged home.


    It really depends on when the patient want to go. If it's not their time, it's not their time.


    Was your grandmother waiting for someone to show up, or something to happen within your family?

    I'm sorry your familyand grandmother is going through this...
    DeLanaHarvickWannabe likes this.
  10. Visit  carolinapooh profile page
    0
    Quote from CHATSDALE
    there was woman several years ago who took some valium after a nitht of drinking family had to go through the court to get permission to remove her from a respirator and the media went agog about it
    anyway after the respirator was finally removed she started breathing on her own, was finally moved to a nursing home, don't know how long she lived but it was several years
    depends on a lot of variables
    bless you at this time
    I believe you're talking about Karen Ann Quinlan, who became comatose in April of 1975, was taken off of life support in 1976, and subsequently died of pneumonia in 1985 after being kept on artificial nutrition.

    She is why we now have formal ethics committees and advance directives.
  11. Visit  Focker profile page
    0
    Quote from cardiacRN2006
    I had a pt come in with CHF exacerbation while I was in externship.
    This patient had been hospitalized 8 months prior, and had treatment withdrawn. Extubated, comfort care, the whole 9 yards. He recovered and was discharged home.

    Had a pt the other night that we withdrew care on. Was on 3 pressors to keep her MAP at 50. Withdrew care, and she also was eventually discharged home.
    I don't really understand why you think that would be a good thing to tell someone who is going through the death of a loved one. False hope is not helpful. People can linger on for varying periods of time, but a patient that is truly dependent on a ventilator and pressors at high levels, will die when they are abruptly removed.
  12. Visit  miko014 profile page
    0
    I hate when they tell people that it will be "less than 24 hours" once life support is removed. I have seen someone live 33 days with no nutrition! Sh had an IV of 0.9 @ KVO (20 at our facility) and that's it. It seems impossible, I know. The docs told the family "24 - 48 hours", but she was a young woman who took great care of herself up until her illness. Her family stayed with her 24/7 (we have no visiting restrictions d/t being oncology/hospice/palliative care). The first time they left her alone, on that 33rd day, she died. They went to the cafeteria to get some lunch (decided to all go together for a change), and she passed within 15 minutes of them leaving. People wait for the right conditions for them - soemtimes they want to see someone, sometimes they want to wait for an event, etc, sometimes they just don't want someone to be there. Everyone is different, and telling families that it will be a certain amount of time only increases their stress level. I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say, "she was supposed to have died 3 days ago", etc.

    I work on the "DNR floor" - if someone is made a DNR, they send them to us as qucik as they can. I think other floors that aren't used to it get flustered and don't know what to do with those pts - like making them a DNR means they will be dead within the hour. It just makes them uncomfortable.

    I'm sorry you're going through such a hard time. Unfortunately, people rarely get the hospice care they need in time - but if that hospital has a palliative care team, or a hospice program, ask them for a consult. They might be able to help your grandma be more comfortable, and they can provide support for your family. I hope everything works out okay for you, and that you can make her comfortable.
  13. Visit  cardiacRN2006 profile page
    0
    Quote from Focker
    I don't really understand why you think that would be a good thing to tell someone who is going through the death of a loved one. False hope is not helpful. People can linger on for varying periods of time, but a patient that is truly dependent on a ventilator and pressors at high levels, will die when they are abruptly removed.

    No, actually they don't always. I forgot, where were you in the room of my patient? Oh yeah, you weren't. I struggled all day to keep her MAP up, and had to add the 3rd pressor just to get comfortable. I'm not making this up, and I'm sorry if you don't like or appreciate facts. Talk to some of your fellow nurses. Many patients get discharged from hospice.

    The fact that I've been a nurse for 1 year and have seen it a few times should say something. In fact, I've had a few pts who were on levo and still lingered for days after extubation and dc'ing the levo and replacing it with a MS gtt.
  14. Visit  barbaratruth profile page
    0
    I learned when I was a hospice volunteer, that people almost always pass when their loved ones go to sleep or leave the room. The hospice nurse teaching us said that many believe people choose their time.

    Peace to you and your family.


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