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Withdrawal of life support from competent elderly woman with heart failure who is unable to wean from the ventilator

(10 Posts)
Twozealotmorethan1 Mon 16-Jan-17 20:25:56

My mum has been in ITU for 2 weeks. She went in with pneumonia and a serious underlying heart condition. She was unable to manage without the ventilator on the one occasion they removed the breathing tube.
She is perfectly compus mentus (sp?) when not sedated. No one has told her directly that if she can't manage without the ventilator there will very soon come a point at which the doctors will remove it and all other care anyway and she will die soon afterwards as a result.
I am distraught about this. It feels like the greatest deceit, albeit to protect her. But shouldn't she know? She's not mentally incompetent, unconscious or brain dead. Should they not try again to wean her from the ventilator or continue treatment is that's what she wishes if she's made aware of the situation? And how can family challenge the doctors on her behalf? Please help?

Twozealotmorethan1 Tue 17-Jan-17 03:19:00


ajandjjmum Wed 18-Jan-17 15:58:50

So sorry that you're going through this.

My DM is currently under 'end of life' care at home - she lives with us - and like you, we have had no conversation about the inevitable conclusion. She is confused, weak and feels 'like a piece of chewed string' - her words.

Our GP spoke to her before doing the DNR, which I was concerned might scare her. He simply asked her if she wanted any more medical intervention, and she said not, which gave him the answer he needed without being explicit.

If you feel it appropriate, I am sure that the medical team will work with you to try and wean her from the ventilator again.

Take care of yourself - I know how tough it is. sad

wizardinthegarden Wed 18-Jan-17 18:37:31

I'm so sorry about your mum. Have you discussed your concerns with the medical team? I'm sure they have encountered this before.

What age is your mum? She may be more aware of her situation than you realise, and will understand the consequences of removing the ventilator. Is there any thing supporting her heart?

I was in a similar situation last year, however mum was heavily sedated and unaware. She also had heart failure. When the ventilator was removed she died immediately, sometimes it can be a few days. Making the decision to remove the ventilator was made easier in our case as her wishes were always clear.

Do you have family with you in this?

Twozealotmorethan1 Sat 21-Jan-17 12:59:04

Sadly my mum died yesterday in the ITU. She was unable to survive once off the ventilator due to her underlying heart and lung issues. She was made comfortable and passed peacefully surrounded by her closest family. We are bereft and broken.

ArcheryAnnie Sat 21-Jan-17 13:04:27

I'm so sorry, Twozealotmorethan1. I am glad you got to be with her, and that she was comfortable at the end. I wish you all the love and strength for you and your family in dealing with your loss.


wizardinthegarden Sat 21-Jan-17 16:13:04

So sorry to read your update. Losing my mum has been so hard, I go over her days in ICU again and again.

Thinking of you 💐

ajandjjmum Mon 23-Jan-17 05:12:53

So sorry .

witwootoodleoo Mon 23-Jan-17 05:32:45

flowers there are no words but I am very sorry for your loss. I'm glad she had her family around her and passed peacefully. I imagine that is some comfort for you all.

teaandakitkat Mon 23-Jan-17 20:35:45

So sorry to hear your news.

A horrible, sad and stressful time for your family, I'm sorry it ended this way x

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