Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Grannie's last heartbeat...

Grandmother labelled 'not for resuscitation' by hospital - National:

"A 94-YEAR-OLD grandmother who told her family she was happy to wake up alive every day was listed as 'not for resuscitation' against her family's will because of a misunderstanding at Frankston Hospital."

Well, I think I'm well versed in this area, having been involved at the decision level for both my Father and Sister.

They were not ready to go. They were not going to stay either. Ultimately, there was no decision to be made: their respective cancers were too far advanced. All we really wanted to provide for both of them was a "good death"- with family nearby, with all (most) things resolved, without pain and with dignity.

Someone else who spoke about the indignity of resuscitation being used on someone whose time had come was the late, great William Melvin Hicks:

I love the movies. Love 'em. Now I'm watching Terminator 2 the other day and I'm thinkin' to myself "they cannot top the stunts in this film, they cannot top this shit", unless, they start using terminally ill people as stunt people in feature films.... well hear me out, cos I know to a lot of you this may seem a little cruel. "Aww Bill, terminally ill stunt people? That's cruel!" You know what I think's cruel? Leaving your loved ones to die in a hospital room surrounded by strangers. Fuck that! Put 'em in the movies! What, you wanna let your grandmother live out her last days in a sterile hospital room, with translucent skin so thin you can see her last heartbeat work its way down her blue veins, or do you want her to meet Chuck Norris?

Now Bill was working the angles for laughs (and dying of pancreatic cancer to boot), but his central point is spot on: do you want your grandmother to die while being "worked on" by strangers, or do you want to have a room full of family there, giving their loved one the attention and dignity that they deserve?

I think so. I think arguing the case "NFR" on a 94 year old is bloody cruel and frankly- if you wanna be an economic rationalist- she's taking up a bed that a younger and likely-to-recover-person could be in.
posted by thr at 12:33 pm


Anonymous Rachel said...

So where do you want to draw the line? 90yrs, 80yrs...or maybe we should just have a standard "retired = NFR". Should we not admitt 90yr olds to hospital at all and deny them medical care because some younger herion addict might crash their car. I am proud to say that Australia doesn't dish out medical treatment depending on your social worth. The state hospital service can ALWAYS find a bed for someone in need so dont suggest that we should be happy to push a 90 yr old on to the next life as a "bed management solution". As long as the grandma and the family are ready to deal with and have been explained in plain terms the consequences of being for full resuss (or NFR), so be it. What age are YOU going to cut your mum off at?

8/23/2006 4:22 pm  
Blogger thr said...

I signed mum oiff years ago...

Perhaps I should just go into the next room and get you poff the phone so we can chat about this situation.

But seriously- a 94 yr old should never be FR. Seriously, it's time.


8/23/2006 6:44 pm  

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