Allowed to die - page 3

hello, i'm writing from new zealand. it's really interesting reading your posts - usually i write in the hospice section but i thought i'd 'come over' to talk to you geriatric experts. last week i... Read More

  1. by   doodlemom
    Quote from JBudd
    I think I'd rather be in hospital with an IV for my comfort pain meds, rather than rectal. Not all LTC can do IV care, here they send folks to us for anything IV.
    There are plenty of meds that can be given SL and pt's stay very comfortable. Most Hospice patients never require IV comfort meds.
  2. by   nettie01
    Quote from dawnbee
    syncronicity! i nurse in a small canadian hospital. just two weeks ago i struggled with the same ethical dilemma as the original poster. my patient on med/surg was a 94 year old gentleman who had lived in a small apartment in his daughter's home, independent except for the supper meal his daughter prepared and brought to him, until a fall brought him to us. no major injuries apparent at first, a couple lacs and contusions, a bump on the head. he was awake and alert. during the days before he died, i watched his loving and attentive family, who never left his side, gradually request withdrawal of treatment. they seemed convinced that this was to be his last illness, although he didn't seem to think so. instead of mobilizing him, he was kept in bed, because it was "unsafe" for him to get up. we started using pshycotropic meds to calm him as he struggled to regain independence. and morphine for the pain from the fall. then, eventually, he gave in to the "inevitable." this whole scenario troubled me at a deep level, yet i felt powerless to intervene, and then guilty because i hadn't, and what was the best outcome i could hope for anyway? it would be so easy if everything was white or black, wrong or right. but it's the grey areas that keep us up at night.
    oh boy! thanks for your post. i'm shocked to read about this scenario. am i cynical to wonder what the family stood to gain by the man's death? to me it's quite clear - it's not a 'grey' case as so many are. he was alert and wanted to continue living. he had motivation and the ability to get up. he struggled to regain independance - this man had the will to live! i don't understand how other people were allowed to decide for him when you describe him as a person who could decide for himself. i'm accustomed to the principle that other people decide only when the patient has lost their ability to decide.
    i think your gut feeling was connected to reality.
    what you describe was clearly unethical - perhaps there are more facts in the case that you didn't mention?
    how could this happen??!


    thanks for your post!
    new zealand