Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from INTENSIVECAREHOTLINE.COM where we instantly improve the lives for Families of critically ill Patients in Intensive Care, so that you can make informed decisions, have PEACE OF MIND, real power, real control and so that you can influence decision making fast, even if you’re not a doctor or a nurse in Intensive Care!
This is another episode of “YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED“ and in last week’s episode I answered another question from our readers and the question was
You can check out last week’s question by clicking on the link here.
In this week’s episode of “YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED” I want to answer questions from one of my clients Julie as part of my 1:1 consulting and advocacy service! Julie’s mother is critically ill in the ICU with sepsis for more than three (3) weeks. Julie is asking whether it’s possible to do the tracheostomy and feeding tube insertion through abdomen all at the same time.
My Mom is in the ICU with Sepsis. Why Does The ICU Team Want To Do Tracheostomy and Gastrostomy on Her at the Same Time? Help!
Patrik: Hi, Marvin. It’s Patrik here. Now, if you want me to add some numerous conference calls, if you want me to I can try and dial her in if you want me to.
Marvin: Yeah, go ahead and do that because I think I’m having a problem on my end.
Patrik: Yes, it sounds like. Okay, just give me one sec, please. Just give me one sec.
Patrik: Just give me one sec.
Patrik: Hi, Julie. It’s Patrik here from Intensive Care Hotline. I’ll just bring Marvin into the call, just give me one sec, please.
Julie: Okay, it’s perfect.
Patrik: Okay, can you all hear me now?
Julie: I hear you.
Marvin: Yes, I can hear you.
Patrik: Oh, wonderful, okay, so that worked. Okay.
Marvin: It’s perfect.
Patrik: So you are waiting for the doctor to come in now, is that right?
Marvin: All right. Yeah, I’m here.
Patrik: Are you waiting for the doctor to come?
Julie: Is the doctor coming in?
Marvin: I’m going to go into the meeting room. Sorry. Hold on one second, let me take the gown off, and then we’ll go in there. All right, still there?
Marvin: Okay. We’re in a meeting with Dr. Smith.
Dr. Smith: Hi.
Julie: Hi. Yes.
Dr. Smith: Yes. Okay.
Dr. Smith: So, yeah, last time we spoke, of course she had that tough day when we removed the tube and then had to put it back in about six hours later. Since that time, her condition has worsened some. You know, when we put in the tube back, we ended up having to suction a lot of stuff out of her lungs.
Dr. Smith: You know, it’s very possible that she might have redeveloped a little bit of pneumonia there. It’s very possible she might have aspirated some stuff into her lungs, and you know, she was having fevers and those sorts of things. It’s very possible that she wasn’t, what we call protecting her airway very well, because, you know, the secretions from her mouth was going into her lungs. So anyway, you know, her blood pressure, and she’s had some persistent fevers. Things kind of unstable after a little bit, but her fever curve is trending a little bit better. Her blood pressure’s a little bit better. But you know, it’s just, so anyways, we’ve been kind of dealing with that. She’s already on antibiotics that covers most things.
But I guess the reason why I thought it was important to speak was I’ve been discussing getting, just like we said, moving forward with caring for her is becoming an issue. You know, the tube in her windpipe is, apart from those six hours, it’s been in for now for three (3) weeks. Well, it’s been over three weeks, excuse me. So, you know, we’re talking about how to best care for her going forward. You know, procedures are going to be risky in that, you know, because of her size, you know, there’s, for example, the feeding tube will have to be an open procedure. We’ll have to open her up, and have to give her some anesthesia.
Julie: Can we for now, since the most important thing would be the tracheostomy, is there a way to just do the feeding through the nose until she’s a little stronger, just so it’s not as invasive, like currently, so not two surgeries?
Dr. Smith: Its intent is just to get it all done at once under one… Because she’s going need, likely anesthesia for one thing, and then might as well do both. At least that’s been our thought process. But let me tell you-
Julie: So you, okay.
Dr. Smith: The tracheostomy is also going to be risky in that she doesn’t have much neck to work with. There’s going to be issues with her skin there. There’s also, you know, going to be issues where, that the skin may, you can have problems where, you know, the airway’s going to be short, that she could have skin issues, where there’s a lot of redness. Whenever you have a lot of loose tissue around the tube, you know, it can cause infection, and things like that. But I mean, the proceduralists here are willing to do it.
I think what everybody is, and it’s a very valid point. What everybody’s bringing up, and we’ve also discussed the care also with the other pulmonologist, Dr. John Simmons saw her yesterday, and Dr. James Wallace over the weekend. Is that, and I think it’s something that is very important for you guys to know. It’s clear that we need to do something to continue to care for her. These tubes have been in so long that we just need to move on to a better way to care for her. But the bottom line is that the chances we’re going to be able to get her off the ventilator, and get her back eating, is very, very low. I guess that’s something that we really haven’t touched bases about, you know, what things will look like once we get these tubes in her? The tracheostomy. You know, and the feeding tube, if you feel that way.
But, you know, I think that the chances are of her coming off the ventilator are very low, and I know that the plan from the start has been to get her back to where she was. Of course if she becomes a ventilator dependent person, you know, she’s not going to be able to eat. She’s not going to be able to talk. She’s going to pretty much be, you know, she was already pretty vegetative, but she’s going to be overwhelmingly vegetative because of those things.
Julie: So she’s not going to be able to talk?
Dr. Smith: Not if we take it off ventilator.
Patrik: Can I just ask here, Dr. Smith, it’s Patrik here. We’ve spoken a couple of weeks back. You’re talking about her potentially being ventilator dependent for the rest of her life, and you know, I understand that’s the possibility. I also think it’s the worst case scenario. But a question that comes up when talking to Marvin and to Julie, really, is it sounds to me like she hasn’t had an arterial line for the last three weeks. How can you say she’s going to be ventilator dependent if you only do an arterial blood gas every now and then, and you’re going to stet her?
Look, I think you’re not following best practice here because I’ve worked in intensive care for 20 years. I mean, not putting an arterial line in for somebody who’s ventilated and on vasopressors on and off, that’s not best practice . So you’re talking about numbers that you only get every now and then. I understand you had a failed extubation, but let’s also look at what’s best practice in intensive care. If you’re not following best practice , you know, you’re making up a potential scenario that’s not really underlined by parameters that need to be checked regularly if somebody’s on a ventilator.
- WHAT THE DOCTORS AND THE NURSES BEHAVIOR IN INTENSIVE CARE IS TELLING YOU ABOUT THE CULTURE IN A UNIT!
- The 5 reasons why you should not trust the Intensive Care team blindly if your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care
Dr. Smith: Yeah. Well, you know, the blood gas. It’s hard to measure what it’s at here. An arterial line, if she were to be on a severe condition then arterial line is needed to monitor blood pressure, and we can check arterial gases. But she didn’t fail because she is fighting. Not because we were following a carbon dioxide or oxygen. But-
Patrik: If you extubated her, she failed, and she doesn’t have an arterial line, then I question your practice. I question your practice if she hasn’t had an arterial line, and she’s failed extubation. I mean, one thing you do before extubation is an arterial blood gas, and you probably do a couple of them. So I’m questioning your approach at this point in time, Dr. Smith. I mean, it’s dangerous not having an arterial line for somebody on multiple vasopressors and on ventilation. I mean, you, look. I’m not a doctor, but I’ve worked in intensive care as a nurse for 20 years. I’m really questioning your approach, and I think you haven’t been open and transparent with the family.
Dr. Smith: Well, she’s got an arterial blood gases. I’m not sure where you’re coming up with this idea.
Patrik: Well, I’ve seen the monitor. There is no arterial line.
Dr. Smith: Yeah, I don’t-
Patrik: The family’s telling me that she’s getting stabbed for an arterial blood gas, which is very painful. So I’m sure that the family’s giving me the right information that she doesn’t have an arterial line, and she hasn’t had one from day one. I’ve seen the monitors, and I haven’t seen any signs of an arterial line being present. That’s very concerning, doctor. That’s very concerning, Dr. Smith, from a clinical perspective. That is extremely concerning.
Dr. Smith: You’re kind of missing the trees from the forest here.
- WHY DECISION MAKING IN INTENSIVE CARE GOES WAY BEYOND YOUR CRITICALLY ILL LOVED ONE’S DIAGNOSIS AND PROGNOSIS!
- THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM OR HOW THE INTENSIVE CARE TEAM IS MAKING DECISIONS WHILST YOUR LOVED ONE IS CRITICALLY ILL IN INTENSIVE CARE!
Patrik: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I’ve never seen somebody being ventilated for three weeks, and on vasopressors without an arterial line. In 20 years I’ve never seen that. You are withholding best practice treatment, potentially, from this patient.
Dr. Smith: Yeah. I mean, arterial line is a monitoring device, it’s not a therapy.
Patrik: Correct. But you need an arterial line with somebody who’s ventilated and on vasopressor. I mean, you look at the literature, you look at the literature. As I said, I’ve never worked in an ICU where this has not happened. This is the very first time I’ve come across that. Very first time in 20 years. I’ve not seen that before. So explain to the family why she hasn’t had an arterial line. Please explain that to the family.
Dr. Smith: Because we haven’t required it.
Patrik: Maybe you don’t have the staff there. Maybe you don’t have the staff there to put an arterial line. That’s what it looks like to me. They had to call you in the other day for intubation. Maybe you don’t have to the staff and the skills on the ground to provide the patient with the care they need. That’s what it looks like to me.
Dr. Smith: I know the blood pressure on a second to minute by minute basis. The arterial line will also allow to draw gas. That, there’s no need for us to do that.
Patrik: t’s cruel. It’s cruel stabbing a patient for an arterial blood test, because that’s what happened. It’s cruel. It’s patient.
Dr. Smith: The arterial line’s one of the pertinent things, and you know, such as when she was involved in the respiratory failure. We don’t do routine arterial blood gases every day.
Patrik: That’s not best practice. I mean, you look. Do you want me to send you some literature? Sorry. I just don’t think she’s in the right environment. It doesn’t look to me like she’s in the right environment. I’ll leave it there for now.
Dr. Smith: Okay. That is your opinion. But in any case, like I said, there’s a high chance that she’s going to be ventilator dependent. So that’s why it’s important for you guys to understand that, that that’s something that will have to be dealt with, once we put those tracheostomy and the feeding tubes in. If you feel like she’s not in the right environment, perhaps a transfer to another facility would be appropriate.
- YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW WHEN YOUR LOVED ONE IS CRITICALLY ILL IN INTENSIVE CARE! (PART 1)
- YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW WHEN YOUR LOVED ONE IS CRITICALLY ILL IN INTENSIVE CARE! (PART 2)
Julie: I think that that would be appropriate in many forms, just because of the drive it takes for us to be there for her as well. It’s pretty far away. I do feel like some university hospital is a really, really big hospital, and they also have a lot of her history there from a complete workup they did when she had a baseline. I don’t know, I feel like maybe, and another thing I have to question is, I don’t understand how, you know, if we were at the five peeps, and the 40 on the ventilator just a few days ago, off of the blood pressure medication, going smoothly. I just have to question why now there’s no chance of coming off of a tracheostomy because now we’re talking no sedation. We’re talking the ability to exercise, and to seek therapy to help with swallowing and things like that. So I just don’t understand what has happened here.
Dr. Smith: Yeah. Well, I think what’s concerning is how quickly she failed when we removed the tube, and just how weak she is. I think it’s a real concern that, like I said, that you guys have to understand that there is a real chance that she may never come off the ventilator. That’s, you know, of course, there’s, in this situation, there’s no 0%, there’s no 100%. But I’d say the likelihood of her ever coming off the ventilator is poor. You know-
Julie: Okay. That’s even being, huh?
Dr. Smith: Generally when people come off the ventilator is a time when, you know, people have rehab. You know, physical therapy, speech therapy, to try to get stronger. Because of her underlying neurologic problems. Because she was bed bound, because she was not a healthy person to start with, you know, physical therapy for her to start getting stronger is going to be very difficult.
Julie: Okay. But, oh, sorry, I can’t really hear.
Marvin: It’s okay. I’m just saying that the only way she’s going to get stronger or get better is if she’s off sedation. She will really be off sedation with the tracheostomy.
Dr. Smith: Correct.
Marvin: So that’s her only chance to get better.
- HOW TO MAKE SURE THAT “WHAT YOU SEE IS ALWAYS WHAT YOU GET” WHILST YOUR LOVED ONE IS CRITICALLY ILL IN INTENSIVE CARE!
Dr. Smith: That’s her only chance, and that’s what I just wanted to make sure with you guys, that, yeah, tracheostomy and a feeding tube are the only way for her to get better, period. But it has to be understood that, you know, the hope is that she gets back to where she was, and I would say that you guys have to understand that her chance of getting there is very, very small. The chance of her becoming ventilator dependent, feeding tube dependent person for the rest of her life is pretty significant. That’s kind of what I wanted to explain to you before having to undergo these procedures. Now, if you guys just want to transfer her over the way she is, that’s also possible. You can do that. All things are on the table here. But I will be completely honest and up front with you with that. It’s a very, it’s an awful position to be in. She’s been through so much.
Julie: She has. She has, but I have such a hard time knowing where she was prior to coming in there. That’s my only struggle. I don’t understand. I guess I just, I can’t be told enough that somehow three weeks later, being in the ICU, that she’s just not going to be back to where she was. I don’t quite grasp that.
Dr. Smith: Yeah.
Julie: I don’t, because I feel like she originally came there with pneumonia, and it’s just progressively just gotten worse and worse.
Dr. Smith: Sure. Sure. Yeah. Well, we’ve talked about how, you know, you have kind of a certain time frame to get better. Otherwise you get weaker and weaker, and that’s kind of what’s happening now. You know, she’s-
Julie: So, there’s a point where you can get so weak that you can not recover from that weakness?
Dr. Smith: No, I’m not saying that it’s impossible, what I’m saying is it’s unlikely.
Julie: Okay. What makes it unlikely? The further health problems, or the patient not being willing to do what it takes?
Dr. Smith: No, what makes it unlikely is that she gets weaker and weaker and she develops more and more complications. Yesterday, also what ended up happening, and I’m not sure if the nurses told you, she also developed a clot in her PICC line, so we did start blood thinners for that. So you know, and of course she needs an IV to continue to receive the fluids. So that’s kind of, so that happened yesterday. But it’s expected, like I said, you know, the longer you’re down with these catheters in your body, the more complications will arise. That’s what I’m trying to say. But we can continue to plan to pull the tracheostomy and the feeding tube, but you know, I think all the doctors that have seen her have their own opinion. The chances are very poor for Roselyn to recover. But it is the only chance that she has to recover. I can’t argue with that. It’s also, you know, it’s the only way to continue to care for her, because those tubes can’t be in there indefinitely.
Dr. Smith: Yeah, so she is on blood thinners now. We’ll have to stop the blood thinners to do the procedure, obviously, and it does add another little layer of risk, and that she can bleed.
Julie: How long does it take for those to get out of her system?
Dr. Smith: Oh, no, we just hold it for… I’m not saying it’s a complication, but you know, it’s another layer of risk, in that, you know, she can get the procedure. In any case, I’m not saying that that’s going to stop us from doing what we need to do, but it’s kind of a case in point that, you know, things get more complicated the longer anyone’s in the hospital longer. But it sounds to me, I’m getting the feeling that you guys want to continue to get the tracheostomy and the feeding tube, and so we’re going to work on doing that, unless of course you guys want to have her transferred, then we’ll work on that with the case manager.
The 1:1 consulting session will continue in next week’s episode.
How can you become the best advocate for your critically ill loved one, make informed decisions, get peace of mind, control, power and influence quickly, whilst your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care?
You get to that all important feeling of making informed decisions, get PEACE OF MIND, CONTROL, POWER AND INFLUENCE when you download your FREE “INSTANT IMPACT” report NOW by entering your email below!
In Your FREE “INSTANT IMPACT” report you’ll learn quickly how to make informed decisions, get PEACE OF MIND, real power and real control and how you can influence decision making fast, whilst your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care! Your FREE “INSTANT IMPACT” Report gives you in-depth insight that you must know whilst your loved one is critically ill or is even dying in Intensive Care!
Sign up and download your FREE “INSTANT IMPACT” REPORT now by entering your email below! In your FREE “INSTANT IMPACT” REPORT you’ll learn how to speak the “secret” Intensive Care language so that the doctors and the nurses know straight away that you are an insider and that you know and understand what’s really happening in Intensive Care! In your FREE report you’ll also discover
- How to ask the doctors and the nurses the right questions
- Discover the many competing interests in Intensive Care and how your critically ill loved one’s treatment may depend on those competing interests
- How to eliminate fear, frustration, stress, struggle and vulnerability even if your loved one is dying
- 5 mind blowing tips & strategies helping you to get on the right path to making informed decisions, get PEACE OF MIND, control, power and influence in your situation
- You’ll get real world examples that you can easily adapt to your and your critically ill loved one’s situation
- How to stop being intimidated by the Intensive Care team and how you will be seen as equals
- You’ll get crucial ‘behind the scenes’ insight so that you know and understand what is really happening in Intensive Care
- How you need to manage doctors and nurses in Intensive Care (it’s not what you think)
Thank you for tuning into this week’s YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED episode and I’ll see you again in another update next week!
Or you can call us! Find phone numbers on our contact tab.
Also check out our Ebook section where you get more Ebooks, Videos and Audio recordings and where you can also get 1:1 counselling/consulting with me via Skype, over the phone or via email by clicking on the products tab!
This is Patrik Hutzel from INTENSIVECAREHOTLINE.COM and I’ll see you again next week with another update!
- The 10 COMMANDMENTS for PEACE OF MIND, control, power and influence if your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care
- What could be the cause if my critically ill loved one is removed from an induced coma but still hasn’t woken up?
- My 80 year old father is in Intensive Care with Myeloma! The Intensive Care team HAS ASKED ME TO SIGN A “DNR” AND I REFUSED! What are MY OPTIONS?
- The 3 most dangerous mistakes that you are making but you are unaware of, if your loved one is a critically ill Patient in Intensive Care
- The 5 questions you need to ask when the Intensive Care team is talking about “Futility of treatment”, “Withdrawal of life support” or about “Withdrawal of treatment”
- HOW TO STOP BEING HELD HOSTAGE BY THE INTENSIVE CARE TEAM if your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care!
- 5 POWERFUL THINGS YOU NEED TO DO IF THE INTENSIVE CARE TEAM IS NEGATIVE WHEN YOUR LOVED ONE IS CRITICALLY ILL IN INTENSIVE CARE!
- My Mum has been diagnosed with STOMACH CANCER and is in ICU ventilated. CAN I TAKE HER HOME on a ventilator?
- The questions you need to ask the most senior doctor in Intensive Care, if your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care
- How long does it take for my critically ill loved one to be taken off the ventilator and have their breathing tube/ endotracheal tube removed
- Why you must make up your own mind about your critically ill loved one’s situation in Intensive Care even if you’re not a doctor or a nurse!
- The ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM or HOW THE INTENSIVE CARE TEAM IS MAKING DECISIONS whilst your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care!
- MY PARTNER IS IN INTENSIVE CARE ON A VENTILATOR! THE INTENSIVE CARE TEAM WANTS TO DO A TRACHEOSTOMY AND I WANT TO HAVE HIM EXTUBATED! WHAT DO I DO?
- 5 ways you are UNCONSCIOUSLY SABOTAGING yourself whilst your loved one is CRITICALLY ILL in Intensive Care and HOW TO STOP doing it!
- How to make sure that “what you see is always what you get” whilst your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care
- 5 Ways to have control, power and influence while your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care
- Family overjoyed as top court rules doctors must seek consent before taking a patient off life support
- How to make sure that your values and beliefs are known whilst your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care
- My loved one has HIV, lymphoma on his brain, seizures, septic and is ventilated! The Intensive Care team is trying to TAKE MY HOPE AWAY and they are all NEGATIVE! HELP!
- MY PARTNER IS IN INTENSIVE CARE AFTER A BLEED ON A BRAIN! WE ARE WORRIED THAT THE INTENSIVE CARE TEAM WANTS TO SWITCH OFF THE VENTILATOR! HELP!
- HOW TO DEAL WITH A DIFFICULT INTENSIVE CARE TEAM, WHEN YOUR LOVED ONE IS CRITICALLY ILL IN INTENSIVE CARE!
- What the doctors and the nurses behaviour in Intensive Care is telling you about the culture in a unit
- How to take control if your loved one has a severe brain injury and is critically ill in Intensive Care
- How can I be prepared, be mentally strong and be well positioned for a Family meeting with the Intensive Care team?(PART 1)
- How can I be prepared, be mentally strong and be well positioned for a Family meeting with the Intensive Care team?(PART 2)
- The four DEADLY SINS that Families of critically ill Patients in Intensive Care CONSTANTLY MAKE, but they are UNAWARE OF!
- My HUSBAND had a HORRIBLE work accident and went into CARDIAC ARREST! Will he be PERMANENTLY DISABLED
- Why decision making in Intensive Care GOES WAY BEYOND your critically ill loved one’s DIAGNOSIS AND PROGNOSIS!
- The 4 ways you can overcome INSURMOUNTABLE OBSTACLES whilst your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care!
- How to get PEACE OF MIND, more control, more power and influence if your critically ill loved one is DYING in Intensive Care!
- The 5 QUESTIONS you need to ask, if the Intensive Care team wants you to DONATE your loved one’s ORGANS in an END OF LIFE SITUATION!
- MY PARTNER IS IN INTENSIVE CARE ON A VENTILATOR! THE INTENSIVE CARE TEAM WANTS TO DO A TRACHEOSTOMY AND I WANT TO HAVE HIM EXTUBATED! WHAT DO I DO? (PART 1)
- How MEDICAL RESEARCH DOMINATES your critically ill loved one’s diagnosis and prognosis, as well as the CARE and TREATMENT your loved one IS RECEIVING or NOT RECEIVING
- WHAT WOULD YOU DO if you knew that you COULD NOT FAIL, whilst your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care
- How the Intensive Care team is SKILFULLY PLAYING WITH YOUR EMOTIONS, if your loved one is critically ill in Intensive Care!
- My father is in Intensive Care ventilated with LIVER FAILURE and KIDNEY FAILURE, I DON’T THINK HE WILL SURVIVE! HELP
- HOW TO GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO HAVE PEACE OF MIND, CONTROL, POWER AND INFLUENCE WHEN YOUR LOVED ONE IS CRITICALLY ILL IN INTENSIVE CARE!
- My father has been weaned off the ventilator in Intensive Care and still has the Tracheostomy in. When can the Tracheostomy be removed?