vegetative state

Nurses General Nursing


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bellehill, RN

566 Posts

Specializes in Neuro Critical Care.

How has she been allowed to stay in hospice for 13 years? It is my understanding that in hospice you don't receive feedings or IVF, only comfort meds. Hospice is supposed to be a short-term stay, am I wrong?

allnurses Guide

Spidey's mom, ADN, BSN, RN

11,302 Posts

Tweety, yes you are right. The articles are from the conservative side of the issue. Terri's parents are Catholic and so is Terri. The people who are advocating on Terri's behalf would most likely be on the sanctity of life side of the argument so I thought it appropriate for people to read WHY they feel the way they do.

Last night I went to Terri's website and played the videos for the first time. My husband came in and stood behind me. He was shocked at her abilities to move, look at her parents, follow objects, smile, laugh, etc. He had been hearing the news on the radio and thought she was comatose. He now understands a bit more why her parents and other physicians do not agree that Terri is in a PVS.

I found a statement by a bishop that may help explain further their beliefs. If you want Terri's husband's side of the story, go to any "right to die" site and you can read it for yourself. I just think there are too many gray areas here to make a decision regarding dehydrating and starving someone who responds as Terri does.


Tweety, BSN, RN

33,847 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

Thanks for clarfying that Steph. I didn't realize that you were trying to present the parents viewpoint. That's fair.

I understand the parents and why they would that as well. But I also have very different ideas about the "sanctity of life" thing. And I'm trying not to project those beliefs on people I don't know.

allnurses Guide

Spidey's mom, ADN, BSN, RN

11,302 Posts

Hi Tweety - You know, before I became a nurse and worked with patients like Terri, who live for years in LTC facilities, I had no idea about the realities of life for people like her. I definitely love to interact with our patients in LTC but obviously would not want to end up there. That is the "rock and the hard place for me". I believe that all life is to be valued and these people deserve respect and dignity and excellent nursing care for as long as they live and I don't think they are less than human. However, I myself would not want to live like that. It's a quandry. It is agonzing. It is complicated. It is hard.

I like what the bishop said at the end of his letter about how important it is to make our wishes known LEGALLY to family about end of life care. And maybe that is one good thing that will come of this.


Tweety, BSN, RN

33,847 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

Steph, I feel the same. Having worked in neuro I saw the life that was there in those stiff and motionless bodies, and try not to project my feeling that they are screaming to me they aren't living and would rather exit this world than live like that. It's no way to live. But it's not for me to decide. I only need to care for them.

I do know without reservation, my spouse and my parents whom I'm health care surrogate for ever get in that condition, I will not feed and pull the plug. Without reservation. Being a nurse I know too much. If my dear spouse had a head injury, he's in such good shape he'd live another 40 years with a feeding tube. Not gonna happen.

One of the main reasons I haven't moved to critical care yet, and I still probably will one day, is this issue. Keeping "lifeless" people alive on vents, etc. As you say it's complicated, and it is hard.

The hard part is when they open their eyes, when they track, etc., smile, or give any indication they are "in" there. I took care of a gsw kid, whose reaction to stimuli was the biggest brightest most beautiful smile you'd ever want to see. That's all he did was lay there, stare into space, and when you applied painful stimuli he's smile. No wonder mom kept in alive in a vegetative state. I probably would to.

I don't care if I'm in there, smiling, alert and oriented, please pull the plug.

Anyway, I've said over and over my feelings. It's nice being able to process it here. Thanks for listening.

Thanks Steph for sharing and everyone as well.


62 Posts

Purplemania- I don't think her situation is anything like Stephen Hawking.


68 Posts

Originally posted by sjoe

"vegetative state "

Oops. I thought this thread would be about Mississippi.

There is a United States nursing forum on this BB for much more of this kind of item

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