Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com with another quick tip for families in intensive care.
Yesterday, I was talking to a client who has their 84-year old mother in intensive care. She caught COVID a couple of weeks ago, and she also has leukemia. The intensive care team is adamant that after five days of ventilation and a breathing tube and an induced coma, that the only way forward for my client’s mother is to withdraw treatment and let her pass away.
Now what happens in reality is, when people withdraw treatment in intensive care ventilation in particular, they’re also giving Morphine, Midazolam or Versed to make patients “comfortable” and let them die. You could argue that this is euthanasia.
The definition of euthanasia is the hastening of death, and it depends on your morals and ethics on your religious beliefs, on your spiritual beliefs, what you think is appropriate for your family members, especially if they can’t make the decision for themselves, or if they don’t have an advanced care plan.
An advanced care plan is basically a plan that’s being documented by a person, what they want in situations when they are a patient in intensive care and when they’re critically ill. The realities that I would argue, 95 to 99% of patients in intensive care do not have an advanced care directive and that is a challenge in and of itself. But that’s not our topic today.
Our topic today is what should you be doing if you are finding yourself in a situation like that, elderly, severely critically ill patient in intensive care. My advice is to follow what you think is right for your loved one. What you believe is moral for you. What do you believe are your ethics? What are your religious beliefs? Do you believe in life? Do you believe in life at all costs? And if you feel that is the case, then you should be opting to continue treatment.
Now you should also weigh up, is your loved one suffering? You should certainly weigh that up, but even if they are suffering, it all comes down to you and your family’s beliefs. It doesn’t come down to what the intensive care team thinks is right. And the reality is, intensive care units need beds all day, every day and they are pretty quick in “pulling the plug and stopping life support”, withdrawing treatment for severely, critically ill patients, let them die often with Morphine, Midazolam and drugs that hasten death. So think carefully about it.
The good news is the intensive care team is at your mercy in terms of consent. So you’ll need to give consent to everything they do or don’t do. So don’t let them push you into a corner and let them pressure you because it is your decision and your decision only. There are laws, legislation, hospital policies that need you to give consent.
So if the intensive care team is saying, we can do whatever we want, but it’s certainly not accurate. They do not operate in a vacuum, even though they are pretending they do, they do not operate in a vacuum and they are at your mercy in terms of consent.
That is my tip for today.
This is Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com. If you have a loved one in intensive care, go and call us on one of the numbers on the top of our website, intensivecarehotline.com or send me an email to [email protected].
Like this video, comment down below what you want to see next and subscribe to my YouTube channel for updates for families in intensive care.
Take care for now.