Friday, November 9, 2007

If this is your idea of love, you can keep it.

An 80-something year old man came in for the second time in a 2-week span.

He was from a local nursing home. He was pretty much out of it.

He had aspiration pneumonia. Again. From his PEG tube (or more accurately, from the improper use and care thereof).

Son was at bedside. Nice man. I remember him from the first visit. Very polite, very caring. He sat there the whole time his father was in the ER.

Dad has a DNR, signed in 2005.

Right under where the "Do not resuscitate/Do not intubate" box was checked, another box was checked, also.

Betcha can't guess which one it was, can you?

Yup. The "No feeding tube" box.

Disregarding your father's wishes so that you can keep him around longer isn't the act of a loving son. It's the act of a selfish one.


RealisticRN said...

Yeah, so loving and caring that dad is dumped in a nursing home. doubt MG, you fixed him...or at least did the million dollar workup AGAIN (to include BCx2) so that you could send him back to that lovely place.

Amy said...


mielikki said...

ah, God, I hate that. And I feel and know that frustration, well. Someday, Dad is going to come back and haunt his son.
And Karma will come bite him in the ass, too.

Joeymom said...

My grandad had one of those DNR things. The hospital ignored it. Yes, he lived three more months- on kidney dialysis and a respirator. Cost $105,000 a month, the insurance wouldn't pick it up because the only place in town that would take a person both on a respirator AND dialysis wanted to be caled a "rehabilitation center" instead of a "nursing home", and he was perfectly miserable. There was nothing we could do. It was a real mess.

So that tube could have been put in without anybody's permission, and now its in, you can't give the permission to pull it out. Not even the Dad, because then its suicide. :P

Lynn Price said...

My grandad had one of those DNR things. The hospital ignored it.

You're kidding! Why on earth do we have DNRs if the hospital is going to disregard it along with racking up a $105,000 bill.

There was nothing we could do.

This scares me most of all. My heart goes out to you and your family, who I assume is now being burdened with the hospital's folly.

Joeymom said...

I'm not kidding. The excuse was "it was part of another procedure." Once it was in, it was determined he would die if it was taken out, and so it couldn't be taken out.

It happens. We sold everything he had to pay the bills, which was a real heartbreak. Fortunately, he still owned his house, so that sale covered the bulk of it- shame we couldn't have held onto it for another year, the price would have doubled. :P

mom said...

Grandpa wanted to die at home. We let him do so. Hospice helped out a lot. They seemed to respect what he wanted and what we wanted to do to respect his wishes. It's never easy...but easier when you know you've done the last thing they ask you to do for them.

RehabNurse said...

"Rehab center"...hey I work in an inpatient rehab facility. I just love when everyone wants to be a "rehab facility".

The person you discuss should be on hospice, not rehab. People get dumped on rehab until said family member codes and if revived, gets sent elsewhere. Sometimes this takes two or three times before people figure things out.

My great uncle died because his kids followed his healthcare wishes and some idiots tried to make them feel guilty. I told my cousin, "You did what he wanted you to do. That is a memory you should keep. He asked, you complied, and he did not suffer."

Remember not making a decision (or making someone else--like a hospital--do it) is still a decision.

Babs RN said...

Living wills and DNRs are unfortunately disregarded all the time. Apparently a lot of them are too "vague" for the docs' (and administrations' "comfort."

NocturnalRN said...

selfish is right. Or guilty? Whichever---wrong wrong wrong

Eric, AKA The Pragmatic Caregiver said...

That's why the POLST (Physician's Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) is an essential improvement in end-of-life care directives.

Find out more about POLST Paradigm and how it protects elders from abuse at