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.
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  3. 24 Comments so far...

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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...
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.


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