Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com with another quick tip for families in intensive care.
So yesterday I was talking to a client who has their 61-year old mother in intensive care with COVID and their mother has been on the breathing tube for two weeks and she’s also in regular prone position.
Now, when patients have COVID, they’re going to lung failure, also known as ARDS and one of the therapy options for COVID-19 and lung failure is prone position. Basically what happens is a patient gets turned on their tummy and head down, to drain some of the fluids on the lungs, just through gravity.
So their mother is also heavily sedated and paralyzed because of the prone position, because it’s very uncomfortable, but it also can be very effective.
Their mother is on a high PEEP, she’s on 85% of oxygen and the intensive care team is basically telling the family that the best option for their mother would be to stop treatment and let nature take its course.
They’re saying they can’t do a tracheostomy simply because PEEP requirements are too high and oxygen requirements are too, and whilst I agree with that because PEEP is 15 and oxygen requirements is 80% at this particular point in time. Whilst I agree with all of that giving up is not really an option.
Hospitals are under high pressure during COVID. ICUs are on the enormous pressure and of course, one way for the intensive care units to manage their beds is by simply letting patients die, to make room for other critically ill patients that need an ICU bed especially now during the peak of the COVID pandemic situation.
So giving up is never an option you can’t give in. Also, withdrawal of treatment decisions cannot be made unilaterally, meaning you as a family, as a medical power of attorney, as the next of kin, you need to give consent.
Don’t let anybody else tell you any differently. You have rights and you need to exercise them. So do not give up no matter how grim the situation looks. Often what happens when treatment is withdrawn, sedatives are being administered, death is hastened and that is euthanasia and euthanasia is simply illegal.
Now ICUs are not going to tell you that, that euthanasia is illegal, but unfortunately it’s common practice in ICU. And the bottom line is, that you’d be potentially signing up for euthanasia and euthanizing your loved one, rather than sit and wait and see whether they could turn around from the treatment they’re getting.
So that is my tip for today. We hope that we could find that the oxygen requirements and the PEEP requirements come down for our client, then they can opt for a tracheostomy rather than end of life and a tracheostomy can hopefully then give the clients enough time to be weaned off the ventilator in their own time.
That’s my tip for today. Do not give up hope and contact us if you have a family member in intensive care, if you need help, you can call me on one of the numbers on the top of the website, intensivecarehotline.com.
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This is Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com and I’ll talk to you in a few days.