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Monday, September 23, 2013

Is it okay to keep patient alive until family arrives?

So there's a patient who is going to die soon, and the family is aware of it.  She is on a BiPAP or ventilator, and is nonresponsive.  The family wants to keep the machine going, to keep the patient alive, until a family member arrives from California.  Is this ethical? 

This is a question that plagues me.  I personally think it's unethical.  Yet, it is a personal decision, not for the doctor to make.  You offer it up to the patient, let them know the facts, and the family has to make these decisons.  What can you do? 

"We want to keep her alive until our daugher arrives from California.  Her plane will land in a few hours."

So we get to play God?  What do you think?

1 comment:

steve respiratory said...

Its fine. As healthcare professionals we have one of the greatest understandings of "being alive ". Some families have no clue. My grandmothers death went the same went the same way. It was so frustrating for me have to watch. Even after I explained her tissue was still here but her soul went home. The family treated me as if I was a heartless idiot. Which they were right, in their own minds. To this day some family members feel I wanted her to be dead because it was my conversation of, she's all ready checked out. Ignorance is bliss, as they say. So "let them eat cake" so much they'll get sugar disease.