How the hell do you make the decision as to whether a loved one gets resucitated ?

(43 Posts)
CaptainUnderpants Fri 06-Jul-07 13:43:57

My Mum is 80 and in hospital , Has refused surgery for her condition which would mean removal of bowel and a bag for the rest of her days . Likely hood that she wouldn't make it through the surgery anyway.

So the hospital are going to make her as comfortable but there is alwyays the possibilty that the bowel could rupture or she could have organ failure if surgery doesnot go ahead. If surgery does go ahead then she may not make it through.

So the futute is not looking too good. The consultant has also asked my Dad to make the decison as to whether she should be resucitated should she have a cardicac arrest . We are going to discuss this with my Dad , siblings that is and help him make the decsion .

How the hell do you make that decision, is it a routine question to ask when things are not looking good ? or do they ask that when anyone is in hospital ?

OP’s posts: |
McDreamy Fri 06-Jul-07 13:46:29

It's one of the hardest questions in the world to answer. I am so sorry you have to make this descision.

slowreader Fri 06-Jul-07 13:49:34

Poor you. But what would your mother say?
I only ask because my neighbour is 80, had bowel surgery for cancer last year (& therefore bag) and is off on a sketching and walking holiday next week...

CaptainUnderpants Fri 06-Jul-07 13:50:09

I haven't seen her yet, I will travelling to see her this weekend, perhaps once I have ssen her it will help.

OP’s posts: |
MsG Fri 06-Jul-07 13:50:40

Hi there, how upsetting and difficult for you. Have you ever discussed it with your mum? If not, maybe your dad has?

Is your mum able to discuss how she feels or not?

Good luck with it. xx

kateyp Fri 06-Jul-07 13:51:37

I would've thought that the person to be discussing it with is your Mum. But that is a bit by the by.

I used to be a hospital doctor and have had this discussion with many many families. It is a very difficult decision and we always tried to involve both patient and family for it.

The thing to remember about resusitation is that it is a violent, traumatic thing to go through and rarely successful (despite what happens on ER and casualty). If your Mum did go into an arrest then there would be a reason behind it - which may or may not be fixable.

Yes it is a routine question to ask and better to ask it now rather than later.

I have seen many many resus situations (only one, i can remember was successful - and that was a man in the A&E who arrested following a heart attack and was shocked straight back). I have also seen many quiet, peaceful deaths with family around. I know what I would rather have happen.

But it is something that must and should be discussed openly.

best wishes

CaptainUnderpants Fri 06-Jul-07 13:52:06

Mum is very frail , she is already in a nursing home, but she is strong willed and stubborn .

I dont know what she would say about it , I haven't asked that of my Dad.

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sniff Fri 06-Jul-07 13:52:26

they usually ask questions about DNR i what illness they have is terminal I think

Its a horible situation o be in my Dad has been DNR twice but pulled through

my thoughts are with you x

wannaBe Fri 06-Jul-07 13:55:55

am so sorry that you are going through all this.

It has to be one of the hardest decisions anyone has to make. Personally I believe that the decision should be based on what is best for the patient. Would she want to continue living like that, would she be in much pain, what kind of quality of life would she have and would she be content with that quality of life? If doctors are saying that they're making her comfortable would you be prolonging the inevidable by resussitating her?

But obviously it's not as easy to think like that when it's you having to make the decision.

best of luck xxx

CaptainUnderpants Fri 06-Jul-07 13:55:56

Kateyp - you've hot the nail on the head, I have been thinking that if she should have a cardiac arrest its her body saying that it cant cope anymore. The whole thing is that she wants dignity and better her to go peacefully than through such a tramatic process, but then again you want your parenst to live forever.

OP’s posts: |
mytwopenceworth Fri 06-Jul-07 14:02:14

I think they ask folks to consider it more carefully when the patient is facing a very poor quality of life afterwards.

My gran has Altzheimers and recently broke her hip and in hospital contracted a bug and also refused to eat, kept pulling out her drip, got dehydrated, pulled out a feeding tube....

My grandad decided on no more intervention, because they were doing all these things to try to save her, when saving her meant prolonging a life where she is force fed/tubed, is doubly incontinent, bent over double, doesn't know who she is or where she is, can't speak or understand language, can't walk I can't carry on listing it because it is too upsetting, but you get the drift.

So I guess they want relatives to consider what the person is facing. In my grans case, it is misery and a slow death with no possible hope of even a partial recovery. Keep her hydrated until she forgets how to breathe. You wouldn't do it to a dog.

If the person would go on to recover if only they could be kept alive through the op, then that is certainly worth it, if you keep resusitating them when they have only the above as a future, then imo, it's not right.

I guess you look at what you think she would want plus what will her life be like. It is a horrible horrible thing to ever have to even let cross your mind.

harpsichordcuddler Fri 06-Jul-07 14:09:23

CU I am very sorry to hear about your situation and your mum's.
I agree that the decision should really be your mum's first and foremost. if she is c.m. enough to make a decision about refusing surgery then this decision should be her's too imo.
I think she will probably have a view.
is it worth talking to a priest or chaplain? do you have a faith?the hospital chaplain will be a good listening ear I think, whatever your faith.
mush sympathy
HC xx

CaptainUnderpants Fri 06-Jul-07 14:14:20

Thank you all for your replies, I am going to have to go and and wash my face , I have been crying my eyes out and I need to go and get the boys from school.

Thank you .

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WingsofanAngel Fri 06-Jul-07 14:19:49

CU,I'm very sorry to hear of the situation you and your family are in.

I think if you talk to each other about how each of you feel. Is your Mum able to convey her wishes to you ?

If your mum has refused to have surgery would she want to be resuscitated.

Keep in mind the woman your Mum is and has been in the past remember her as a healthy woman.

My thoughts are with you and you will be in my prayers.

Keep strong.

suedonim Sat 07-Jul-07 01:34:51

Captainunderpants, I'm so sorry.

My mother and I were asked the same question about my father and I got the impression it is routine when someone is very ill. We looked at what lay ahead if my father was resusitated. All we saw were a few more days of a miserable existence with no hope of recovery. For us, it wasn't a hard decision to make, although it's an awe-inspiring one and intimidating.

I hope you can come to a resolution about your Mum.

throckenholt Sat 07-Jul-07 06:51:03

ask her ?

If it was me I would rather be allowed to die - especially if I was that age and had a serious illness.

My grandad told us (before he got too bad - alzheimers) that we were not to resucitate if it came to it.

McDreamy Sat 07-Jul-07 07:36:10

Hi Captain, how are you today? I worked as a sister in the nhs for 10 years and we had to deal with this situation frequently.

kateyp talks alot of sense. Resus is not nice but if it works it's obviuosly worth it. That's the decision you and your family, including your mum need to make. Is it worth putting her through it? does she want to go through and what is she going to gain by going through it?

I too have attended many unsuccessful resus situations and only a couple of successful ones

I'm so sorry you and your family are in this situation Thinking of you

BBBee Sat 07-Jul-07 07:52:39

I am sorry that you have to face this.

There is some wonderful advice on here from Katy and others. I can't add to that really apart from to say that if you do everything in terms of what is best for your mum and what she would have wanted and make sure the whole family are agreed it should make sure that the burden is not bore by one person.

CaptainUnderpants Sat 07-Jul-07 09:11:59

Hi all , thanks for your messages.

I feel a bit better today.

Yerterday lunch time was the first time that I had been alone and not busy after being told about the resucitation decision and I just had time to think about it and got very upset.

thank you for being thereMumsnetters , you have helped me to see things a bit clearer. Am off later to see Mum , will be back home Monday.

I will let you know how things are .

thank you

OP’s posts: |
babalon Mon 09-Jul-07 22:16:40

I hope you find some answers, I know you've already gone but I hope you can asked the questions to your mum but if not come to your own conclusion depending on her condition. I'm too a nurse and i can honestly say i've ony seen 2 cardiac arrest patients walk out of the hospital. it's crap but like someone else said you wouldn't put a dog through the things we subject patients to.

I wish your family peace and eventual closure.

dayofftomorrow Mon 09-Jul-07 22:49:48

Many hospital staff will say that resusitation is often unsuccessful and isn't very pretty so relatives get quite a shock when they go in afterwards.

However there is also the matter of agreeing to withdrawal of medical/nursing care

DollyPopsOut Mon 09-Jul-07 22:56:34

We had to make this decision for my pa a few months ago. It's very hard and sad .

I hope you are feeling OK after the weekend. Thinking of you XXXXX

CaptainUnderpants Tue 10-Jul-07 14:29:07

Went to see Mum at the weekend and as soon as I saw her I knew that the decsion not to resuicitate was the right one. She is very frail and and the tramau of it would literally break her.

However she has decided today that she will go ahead with surgery . she is due to go in later today if not tomorrow. The decsion not to resuciate is the same should anything happen during surgery.

We just now wait.

OP’s posts: |
DollyPopsOut Tue 10-Jul-07 14:36:26

Thinking of you Captain underpants and hoping everything is OK for your mother. Take care XXXXX

McDreamy Tue 10-Jul-07 14:38:43

Thinking of you and your family. xxx

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