Wednesday, February 20, 2013

D.N.R.


Can you see the "sad panda face"...?

This patient suffered a major hemorrhagic stroke 
leaving them unable to move the right side of their body.
They have a living will and DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order in place.
Given their age and medical condition, they will most likely
never recover and will die soon.
And, they wanted it that way.

Their child didn't question the decision.
They had talked about it several times.
The child was their POA (Power of Attorney) for healthcare
and was in complete agreement with their parent's final wishes.
I wish everyone would do this.

I'm getting back up on my soapbox about DNR's and living wills because I spent
an hour during my last shift running a resuscitation on someone who
"maybe has a DNR, I don't know, you'll have to talk to their other child because 
even though they told me they didn't want anything done I can't make that decision."


I've talked about this before, once when I was on my CCU rotation during residency,
and another time when I was talking about conversations Momma and I have on the road.

It's difficult, but have the conversation.
Make a plan.
Put it in writing.
Make several copies.
Have them readily available.
(Put one on the fridge or in the kitchen drawer to hand to EMS.)
Designate someone to speak for you when you can no longer speak for yourself.

I've read several blog posts about advance directives mostly related to cancer patients
and end-stage disease, but tragedy can strike at any time.

I'm an organ donor, are you?
Does your family/partner/spouse/child know your wishes?
In some states even if you have the donor symbol on your driver's license
someone still has to sign for consent.

And, even more difficult to talk about,
the death of a child.
Are you and your spouse prepared to make a 
potentially life-saving decision for someone else?
Discuss it now.
Cry about it now.
It really does make it easier when/if something unexpected happens.

And, to end this little rant,
I send a shout out to my friend B
who talked to her husband about end of life plans
for their beloved pet.







6 comments:

That corgi :) said...

Am I the "B" with the pet? If so, I'm consistently reinforcing our decisions especially since K is aging (but still okay). I'm with you on this whole thing, Veronica! Half of it was reinforced when I saw hubby's mother who had a DNR/living will in place with her husband has POA but he was too chicken at the end to make that decision and it was horrible her final half hour on earth (I can only hope she passed before they started trying to resuscitate her). Sorry for calling him chicken but he frankly was; too afraid to let her go. Anyway, I swore to hubby he better not do that to me (I have no intentions of doing that with him). We are all organ donors and its on our licenses :) I think knowing where we are all going helps when planning end of life things. Now not sure where K is going, but we'll let God decide :)

betty

Connie Higginbotham said...

as my daddy said to me as he lay dying,dying is part of life....

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ADB said...

Excellent post on an extremely difficult subject. Making a living will with DNR order is pertinent at any time, because (as you point out) tragedy can strike at any time.

partiallycooperativeandslightlyirritable said...

Wonderful post. My husband and I have planned for our pets, but for whatever reason, we keep putting off finalizing our own DNRs. Thanks for the head-smack. I think we'll do it this weekend.

And, sigh, talk to my mother and his dad. Once it's too late, it's too late.

Lori said...

This is a great post about a very important issue.