It seems to be a case of all reasonable care Vs all possible care. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you have to.
I have seen terrible things done to keep people alive a few more days, even when that person was as good as brain dead.
One woman was on a vent and coded. Her kidneys had shut down and she was too weak for hemo. She was so bloated from fluid retention (she was on TPN), we had to change 6 pads an hour because of weeping edema. She passed when her heart gave out, not because the vent was turned off. :angryfire
Another man was only being kept alive because of meds/vent/hemo. The family only made him a DNR when his legs started rotting off him. His arm turned black 2-3 weeks before. This man had been totally non-responsive for 2 months. He lasted 2 more weeks (still on meds/vent/hemo). :angryfire
So do I think that too much is done at times, YES I DO. Are there times when we should let them go with dignity and respect, again, YES.
I'm not saying for a second that we should turn off all machines on old people, or not supply care to the frail, but sometimes enough is enough.
I care for all my patents, and it upsets me greatly when they are abused to make family feel better.
Sorry for the vent, but as much as I love nursing, I hate this...