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Friday, January 29, 2010

We need to keep end stage patients happy

I think it was in 1993 at hunting camp my Uncle Donald decided to visit us. He was 80. My dad and I marveled at the fact that our 80 year old uncle was out in the middle of the woods, standing by a fire, and buzzed after drinking some homemade wine that sat up above the cupboards in the cabin kitchen for years.

Every person has one sagacious uncle, and Uncle Donald was mine. He had a white beard and mustache and gave the impression of Mark Train. He read a lot, said little, and when he did talk he impressed you with his wisdom.

You don't really think a lot about 80 year old people getting drunk, but after all they are human. And he wanted to enjoy the evening with dad and me. Dad said to me, "Yep, Rick, when you turn 80 you can do whatever you want."

That makes a lot of sense to me. And now, 15 years later, I use the same philosophy when I'm working. I believe if you are over 80, or if you have an end stage disease, that you can do whatever you want.

Likewise, if you are an end stage COPD patient you can have a breathing treatment whenever you want. And when you're done with that first treatment and you want another, by golly you can have that too.

I had an end stage cancer patient the other day demand a nasal cannula at 10lp. I had another patient who was anxious and labored who demanded a treatment every hour "even if I'm asleep get me up."

Wish granted!

Why not. The only reason I can think of for not giving it to her is if the RT were lazy or annoyed or didn't have any common sense. So, I think we'll make this RT Cave rule #40:
RT Cave Rule #40: Whatever it takes to keep a patient over 80 happy, do it. Whatever it takes to keep an end stage COPD, CHF, CF or cancer patient happy, do it. Use your common sense.

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