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Old 08-21-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
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upholding medical wishes?

Sometime yesterday, my mom suffered a heart attack in the assisted living facility where she lives. She signed a DNR, and it is in her records there. The nursing staff called 911 for a "lift assist" when they found her on the floor and couldn't get her back into her bed.

In spite of the dnr and other paperwork clearly expressing her wishes, the EMT's took it upon themselves to transport her to the hospital, intubate her, bag her, and pump her full of lifesaving drugs. When they got to the hospital, they left her "folder" containing her medical history, medication list, and certified copy of the DNR, in the ambulance.

At some point, the ER doc called me,was informed of the DNR, told me that they couldn't pull the tube out until the drugs the EMT gave her wore off...
30 minutes later she called again, to report that she'd called the EMT's back to the hospital, had them check the ambulance, and now had the DNR paperwork in her hands.

I told her I would hold while they pulled the tube and disconnected all IV's. And then I ( they) did just that.

It's been 24 hours now. Her heat is still beating. She is still breathing. There is no response to any stimuli at all. Her eyes are open, blank, and unblinking. She will lay there in that bed until she starves or dehydrates and dies.

She has not been a healthy person for a very long time. She has lived in constant pain, only slightly dulled by codiene, for 40 years. Until these last few years in the home, I (and my DW) have taken care of her for 30 years. She made her wishes perfectly clear long ago, and I promised her that when it was her time to go, medical science would not stand in her way.

I don't even know why I am posting this, other than to stimulate some interesting conversation.

I've been prepared for her death for a long time. I just wished the medical professionals had just let her go. We treat our dogs more humanely.

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Old 08-21-2012, 01:16 PM   #2
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It sounds like a paperwork mix up to me. My mother was also DNR and in a nursing home. Her mind was gone from age, several strokes and a severe head injury. She had no quality of life. She was 90. When she arrested the DNR was respected and they let her go as nature intended.

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Old 08-21-2012, 01:17 PM   #3
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So very sorry - hard to see our loved ones suffer - thinking of you and your family.
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:17 PM   #4
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First and foremost you and your family are in my thoughts and I have first hand knowledge of your situation. No matter how prepared we can be, these are hard times. I hope hope for her passing to pain free and swift.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:19 PM   #5
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I'm so sorry to hear you had to go through that Jim. IMHO, it's inexcusable. Having gone through in home hospice with both of my parents I know how hard it can be and how calling EMTs can sometimes complicate things.

Thanks for sharing your story to help others understand how important it is to clearly establish their wishes and even then things can obviously go wrong.

Here's wishing all involved peace in the very near future.

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Old 08-21-2012, 01:41 PM   #6
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I can understand the feelings you are h aving. My Mom had a DNR as well as a DO NOT Transport at here nursing home. We had more battles with the nursing director there that kept "loosing" the forms and we had to keep replacing them for their files.

The people that have such a "life at all cost" have no business working in a senior nursing facility.

I any case my Uncle, a retired MD filed a complaint with the state board and managed to get the Nursing Director fired as well as the facility director. The managing company was not the least bit happy with their actions.

My wife and I both have very well worded medical directives in place with out daughter as well as our various Doctors. I just hope they work as we wish.

I encourage everyone to get with your attorney and get these directives in palce if that is what you want.

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Old 08-21-2012, 02:38 PM   #7
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I am so sorry - I understand your pain, I was there with my mother. You are in my prayers.
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Old 08-21-2012, 03:01 PM   #8
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My mother had a DNR. I promised her that I would make sure it was enforced. After she got to the nursing home, she went downhill mentally. She did not realize that she needed to eat. The doctor called me in and said she needed a feeding tube. I called her brother and he said she always said not to hook her up to machines. He told me not to do it. If she had told me no feeding machine, I would not have had a problem. I wound up having the tube installed because she never told me not to. Make sure you tell your children that you want nothing hooked up, if that is your wishes.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:22 PM   #9
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After 2 days of I don't know what, mom passed today. Thanks all for your good wishes and comments.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JimM68
After 2 days of I don't know what, mom passed today. Thanks all for your good wishes and comments.
So sorry for your loss, she is. Now truly at rest.
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:49 PM   #11
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Jim..I'm so sorry for your loss...celebrate your moms life and know that shes in a better place...Our thoughts and prayers are with you
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:05 PM   #12
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My thoughts on that

I feel for you at the passing of your Mother it is a sad time and wish you well in dealing with all the issues of having a loved one pass on. You and your family are in my thoughts tonight.
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:24 PM   #13
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Both my parents had DNR orders (as do my wife and I). Here we can have Hospice take care of arrangements up to and including transport to the mortuary. In both cases they died in their sleep and almost exactly one month apart. All I needed to do was arrange for the cremations and urns.
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:50 PM   #14
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First I am sorry for your loss. In my state POST and DNR forms are only holding to physicians, EMTS etc must give all support until told by a doctor to stop. I had to sign a form to that effect for my wife when she went into the nursing home for dementia. The one exception is if the patient is under hospice care requested by a physician. When I was a EMT, only the patient could deny themselves care unless they were a minor then the parent or guarding had to approve any treatment. If unconscious then the law said there was implied consent and we treated - no discussion was given to written forms in those days.

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