Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com with another quick tip for families in intensive care.
Today is more a bit of a case study rather than a tip, but I’m sure you’ll get the moral of the story, anyway. So, we’ve been working with a client in the last few weeks who had their mom in ICU. Initially, the family reached out, basically saying that, “Tomorrow at three o’clock or whatever time they told us, they wanted to take their mother off life support in ICU and basically let her die.” We, at the time, successfully intervened and put a stop to that like we always do. Then, the client’s mother ended up in LTAC.
Again, that wasn’t definitely our advice. We advised against that, but it happened nevertheless because we had no contact with the client for a while. But then, the client reached out again, but at that stage, it was almost too late. And it goes to show once again that the biggest challenge for families in intensive care is simply that they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know what to look for. They don’t know what questions to ask. They don’t know their rights, and they don’t know how to manage doctors and nurses in intensive care.
But without further ado, I just want to read out an email from a client so you can get the gist what happened after we successfully intervened and put a stop to letting the hospital withdraw treatment and basically kill this lady.
“Hi Patrik, I’d just like to give you a brief update on my mom’s situation since we last spoke. Mom has had a few more ups and downs. Getting my sister to understand that the hospital didn’t have good intentions for my mom proved harder than I realized. I suppose she was in denial about everything. I had warned her off, she had to find out the hard way at my mother’s expense.
For example, after we spoke about the unlawfulness and having the nurse over here, that conversation had changed the direction of the ICU staff and began to see a change. Mom started to receive better care and started to show signs of improvement while she was still at, and I’m not going to name the name of the hospital. My sister and the doctor had decided on an early surgery, a tracheostomy.”
Now, I just want to repeat that because that’s when the family first hired me when the ICU wanted to literally kill their mother. When we successfully intervened by making, not only our client aware of their rights, but also making the hospital aware of their responsibility and that withdrawing life support and potentially killing this lady would be unlawful.
So again, let me read this out again just to illustrate my point and these are my client’s words, not my words, “For example, after we spoke about the unlawfulness of having the nurse over here, the conversation that had changed the direction of the ICU staff began to see a change. Mom started to receive better care and started to show signs of improvement. Now, she started to show signs of improvement after the hospital basically damned her to end of life .” So, that’s what happens. That’s what can happen when you have a professional advocate for you and for your family member who understands intensive care just as well as ICU teams do.
“I was against the tracheostomy surgery for a couple of reasons during my mother’s care. They had gone so far as to remove her off the fluids and without my sister’s approval had put her in hospice. This resulted in my mom becoming very ill, showing sign of dehydration and just overall failing organs.” Well, this is a massive issue generally speaking that when some people are placed on hospice, they stop nutrition, and they stop fluids. And again, that could be perceived as unlawful, could be perceived as euthanasia or as murder even.
“That’s when we had you intervene. And at the moment, that’s when the doctor had placed her back on fluids and three days later, she was in much better spirits. She was beginning to communicate well, be very alert, smile, even laugh. The very next day is when they decided to do the tracheostomy without allowing my mom to recover and at least spend a day catching up on fluids. I was also against this because I didn’t feel like it was a good idea to perform the surgery in this particular hospital considering the possible complications and the unstableness overall.” At that stage, we advised not necessarily to do a tracheostomy, but to push for extubation if that was possible at all, because we could already see that with a tracheostomy, the ICU would want to push this lady out to Long Term Acute Care (LTAC) as quickly as possible.
So, the client continues against my advice, “They performed the surgery and just like I suspected, the hospital wanted to transfer her to an LTAC facility. Upon arrival at this new LTAC facility, my mother wasn’t even there for 36 hours before she took a downward spiral very quickly to the point where she was rushed to another ICU where she’s now residing.” So, I have made a video a few weeks, maybe even a few months ago, where I said, “Second admission to LTAC, the madness continues.” Something to that effect with that title.
You can already see that when someone goes to LTAC for the first time, it’s madness because like I always say, patients bounce back to ICU very quickly because they’re simply not equipped at LTAC to look after critically ill patients, and yet that’s what’s happening all the time. Again, this is unique for our U.S. audience. LTACs only really exists in the U.S., they don’t exist in other countries, and it’s simply dangerous that critically ill patients where the ICU wanted to place them on hospice are now being sent to LTAC. LTACs are the better version of a nursing home if that. And it just goes to show that what I’ve been saying for many years is unfortunately accurate that patients bounce back into ICU in no time.
Now, the conversation went on over the next few days with this particular client. Unfortunately, her mother passed away in ICU in the last few days and it’s extremely sad because we believe this could have been avoided if the first ICU would’ve done the right things, not dehydrating this lady in order to move her towards end of life. And number two, would’ve moved her towards extubation, given her best care and treatment because that’s what happened when they started to hydrate her again, she improved very quickly, but she didn’t improve quick enough to go to LTAC, obviously.
So, you can’t be on high alert soon enough when you have a loved one in intensive care. If you don’t find out what’s really happening. if you don’t get that crucial second opinion, you’re literally having your loved one’s life in your hand. You need to do your own research from day one. This is one of many examples where things don’t go as planned because families are not asking for help right away or are not asking for enough help.
When you do get help, I can tell you what can happen in the best-case scenario, please look at a podcast that I did with one of our clients a few weeks ago where the client was told in ICU, they’re going to die. They won’t have any quality of life if they do survive, but they’re going to die anyway. Again, we successfully intervened at the time, advocated for the client for a tracheostomy, which wasn’t even given as an option to the family in that situation that tracheostomy was the right thing to do. The client, lo and behold, survived and was happy to be a guest on my podcast to share his story and to share his family’s story. So, I’ll put a link below this video to that podcast.
Now, if you have a loved one in intensive care, go to intensivecarehotline.com. Call us on one of the numbers on the top of our website or simply send us an email to [email protected] with your questions.
Also, have a look at our membership for families in intensive care at intensivecaresupport.org. There, you have access to me and my team, 24 hours a day, in a membership area and via email and we answer all questions intensive care related.
If you need a medical record review, please contact us as well. We review medical records in ICU in real time so you can have a second opinion in real time, and you can have the medical jargon broken down into layman’s terms by experts. If you need a medical record review after intensive care, if you have unanswered questions, if you need closure or if you’re simply looking whether there has been medical negligence or not, we can help you with that as well.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel for regular updates for families in intensive care, click the like button, click the notification bell, share the video with your friends and families, and comment below what questions and insights you have from this video and what you want to see next.
Thank you so much for watching.
This is Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com and I will talk to you in a few days.