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 one of my clients Richard and the question from Richard in last week’s episode was
You can check out last week’s question by clicking on the link here.
Richard’s mother suffered from a fractured bone due to a fall. His mother was then transferred to ICU due to cardiac arrest and had a tracheostomy during her stay in the ICU
The ICU team is giving my mom too many sedatives. Are they slowly killing her or are they helping her to wean off the ventilator?
“You can also check out previous 1:1 consulting and advocacy sessions with me and Richard here.”
Here are more thoughts and questions about the situation
- What was her neurological condition before she deteriorated in the last few days? Why was she not asked or informed about the commencement of the Morphine infusion?
- Ventilation > if your mother weighs 118Kg her ventilation volume per breath should be ~7-10 mls/kg. That should be a minimum of 826 mls per breath. In the pictures you have sent, her volume has been 350-450 mls/breath. With my other comments about increasing pressure support and her breaths/minute, in order to get CO2 down, the volume per breath has to be appropriate to the body weight.
Morphine and Midazolam are used to “palliate” or “euthanize” a Patient. The minute they stop ventilation your mother will die. Midazolam and Morphine are used in an induced coma. Considering your notes in your email, they haven’t been open and transparent.
Find more information and recommended details about induced coma:
- The 10 answers to the 10 most frequently asked questions when your loved one isn’t “waking up “after an induced coma!
Thanks for the chat and re-sending the e-mail for recap with helpful advice and thoughts.
Could you just send me a quick short simple e-mail (when convenient), in your own words, something along lines… on xx/03/18 (28/03/18 I think), I spoke with Dr. Smolensk and he informed me…. Sedation implemented/administered to manage/improve ventilation etc. for patient, Gabrielle Fox.
Just been reading up on Alfie Evans. Thanks for highlighting his case. I can relate to some aspects. I will be thinking of him and his family and will say a prayer.
Some thoughts: –
Without knowing the details of the case, but as you indicated, the option of Italy/Germany being denied seems both sad and restrictive to me.
For family to have to deal with high pressure legal court case and at same time ICU and imminent possibility of death of child – this must be almost unbelievably tough and stressful.
I found some of the media and public feedback comments very interesting in terms thinking, opinion and knowledge (selective and/or limited as it may be) re this situation.
Perhaps someone can write an informative news/educational article along the lines of what you described in Germany to show what is possible and for this to get public mainstream coverage and debate – maybe one day!
- INTERVIEW WITH MEDICAL FUTILITY LAWYER PROFESSOR THADDEUS POPE ABOUT MEDICAL DISPUTES IN INTENSIVE CARE REGARDING END OF LIFE DECISIONS
Here is also my summary after talking to the ICU doctor
Thank you for your reports.
I’ve seen your latest images.
They have now changed the ventilation settings and she’s not breathing spontaneously any longer. The machine is doing most of the work.
Probably a side effect of the Morphine. CO2 still high. They could bring it down by increasing her breaths per minute and by potentially ceasing Morphine. It looks like she’s on 4 of Morphine but the image with the infusion is not quite clear. The infusion with 2 was Insulin yesterday unless they have ceased it, it might still be Insulin.
Doctor talking rubbish if he says ventilation shouldn’t be withdrawn whilst he’s increasing Morphine. The Morphine will eventually kill her if they don’t stop it, especially if kidneys are starting to fail.
They are basically trying to euthanize her by telling you they continue medical treatment but put her to sleep on the other end with Morphine.
I questioned him why they wanted to withdraw treatment and he said that there are no plans to withdraw treatment and that sedation was only started to improve ventilation due to her infection.
According to him this was a temporary measure and he would expect improvement going forward.
My gut was telling me at the time he wasn’t truthful.
Starting sedation in form of Morphine and Midazolam is usually either used to
a) Sedation and optimise ventilation
b) In end of life situations to “euthanize” a Patient
Given that the next day your Mum “crashed” I believe they were preparing for end of life the day prior.
The truth will be in the medical records. We can look at them for you or with you and we can get the answers you are looking for so you can get closure.
I would be delighted to help you with a review of the medical records once you have access to them.
We can talk about this in more details when we get on the phone a bit later today.
Will be busy but ready and available when you need me.
- INTENSIVE CARE’S HIDDEN SECRETS AND MYTHS BEHIND THE SCENES, THAT THE INTENSIVE CARE TEAM KEEPS AWAY FROM YOU AT ANY COST AND OTHER FAMILIES OF CRITICALLY ILL PATIENTS HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT THOSE HIDDEN SECRETS!
- THE 10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ARE HAPPENING BEHIND THE SCENES IN INTENSIVE CARE THAT HOLD YOU BACK FROM HAVING PEACE OF MIND, CONTROL, POWER AND INFLUENCE, WHILST YOUR LOVED ONE IS CRITICALLY ILL IN INTENSIVE CARE!
Patrik: Hi Richard, it’s Patrik here, can you hear me?
Richard: I can indeed, yes.
Richard: Just give me a second. Okay. I’m here with Heather and I’ve just stepped out of the ward.
Patrik: Right. So I’ve had a fairly lengthy chat with him. Sorry, do you want to put this on loud speaker so Heather can hear as well?
Richard: Turning it up and turning it down, if it makes sense. I think we’re on the same page. All set up. Thank you.
Patrik: Okay. I’ve had a fairly lengthy chat with him. What can I say? I think he’s making excuses because … So they were clearly of the view that, and he mentioned that a couple of times, is it now 30, 35 days that your mum’s been in ICU is that correct?
Richard: That’s 31, I think.
Patrik: 31. Yeah. So he’s mentioned the 30-day mark a couple of times, where I said to him, “Look, so the 30-day mark is your cut-off. If somebody hasn’t improved, then you’re moving them into a different category of patient.” Now he sorts of denied that, saying, “Look, it’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of whether patients are improving, and it’s a matter of patients’ comorbidities whether we would then advance a treatment or not.”
So, what he’s saying, and you would have seen earlier, me on WhatsApp, saying morphine and midazolam is a drug where patients get in end of life situations to hasten death. Now he’s clearly denying that morphine and midazolam are given to hasten death. He actually has an explanation for me why she’s getting that. I don’t trust in what he said but it could be an explanation, but I don’t trust him yet because his actions down the line will speak what it’s really being given for. So-
Find more information about end of life care:
- The Difference Between “Real” And “Perceived” End Of Life Situations When Your Loved One Is Critically Ill 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!”
Richard: No, it’s the ward nurse seeing if we wanted anything.
Heather: No me. She was looking for me.
Richard: Sorry to interrupt you Patrik.
Patrik: Oh no, that’s okay. That was one of my first concerns. I said, “Why are you giving morphine and midazolam all of a sudden? How can she go from being mobilised two days ago to all of a sudden going on to morphine and midazolam?” And I said to him, “Are you planning for an end of life situation without telling the family?”
Richard: Yes, yes good.
Patrik: Then he says to me, and I do believe he thought hard about it before he was giving me a response to that. My impression is, yes they are planning for an end of life situation, but as soon as I confronted him with that he changed his response, I believe. So what he said is, “Ah look, you know, she’s not breathing properly, and as you would know, if she’s not breathing properly one way to increase the volume is sedating the patient.” Do you remember I said that in-
Patrik: Right, I said that earlier in the email, where I said, “Look, her volumes are pretty low for her weight.” And he now says they are sedating her to get more volume in her to get the CO2 out-
Richard: You’re breaking up again Patrik. One moment, I’m just going to stand up. Could you repeat that, please? I just lost you for a minute.
Patrik: Yeah. As I said, my concern was that when you told me that she’s now on morphine and midazolam that they’re basically working her up for an end of life situation, right?
Patrik: Then when I confronted him with that, he said, “No, no, the morphine and midazolam are not to palliate her, they are to increase her volumes.” Right? And that makes sense to me.
Patrik: Well that makes sense to me, right? That you would sedate a patient because they are breathing against the ventilator, and that’s one way to manage ventilation. However, I do believe that when I confronted him with that, he was thinking long and hard before he was giving me that response.
Patrik: Right. That was my impression. Then I sort of tried to hone in on, “Well, what’s your plan?” With your Mum. Why are you doing all of this if you’re on one hand you are sitting down with the family and saying, “Look. She’s not going to get any better. She doesn’t have any quality of life, it’s probably best for her if she’s going to die.” And then he confirmed that they are not planning to remove any treatment, but at the same time, they’re not planning to escalate treatment either.
- THE 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF THE MEDICAL TEAM IN INTENSIVE CARE WANTS TO “LIMIT TREATMENT”, WANTS TO “WITHDRAW TREATMENT”, “WITHDRAW LIFE SUPPORT” OR WANTS TO ISSUE A “DNR” (DO NOT RESUSCITATE) OR “NFR” (NOT FOR RESUSCITATION) ORDER FOR YOUR CRITICALLY ILL LOVED ONE!
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Richard: Yeah. Okay, I see where you’re going with this, okay.
Patrik: Is that something they mentioned yesterday? No escalation of treatment?
Richard: No. They said they would continue the same level of medical care wouldn’t go down or they will be withdrawn.
Heather: And add palliative care on top of that and the medical care wouldn’t go down or be withdrawn.
Richard: So it wouldn’t be withdrawn, but they certainly didn’t say one word about escalation or improving things. They did talk about more aggressive palliative care. But that was a different subject.
Patrik: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, I do believe that irrespective of what he said, I do believe their plan really is to make your mother comfortable and let her die.
Richard: That’s what they said today.
Richard: That’s exactly what they said.
Patrik: However, I did ask, when he said to me that they are sedating her to improve the ventilation side of things, so then I said to him, “Well if that’s the case, that then means once you’ve stabilised her ventilation you should wake her up again.”
Heather: Yes, so then we can talk to her. And if she chooses herself she wants to go, that’s fine, we understand that, because it would be her choice then properly in front of us and whoever else she wants to say it to.
Richard: She is certainly, what I would call, on minimal alert or zero alert.
Patrik: Of course she is, and that is because of the morphine and the midazolam now. And that is what I said to him as well. I said to him, “Have you informed her about the decisions that you’ve made?” And he clearly denied that. He said, “Look, we haven’t.” And he was apologising then, saying, “Look, it probably wasn’t the right approach.” I said “Look. That’s inappropriate, really, I think-
Heather: Yeah I got the feeling if anyone was going to agree with us over that, it would have been him.
Richard: I think he listened to that. I think he was receptive to that.
Heather: He has been told one thing by the other consultants.
Richard: As far as I could tell he was not the one who actually did that.
Richard: He wasn’t the one who spoke to Mum, and without family there asked her these questions. I think, as far as I can tell, the last person was Dr. Miller, and then prior to that it was one or two of the nurses over the previous day. That’s my guess, but it might not be. As far as the anaesthesia person was not the one who the inappropriate handling of the source of the decision making-choice etcetera…
Heather: And he hadn’t had the call back before he….
Richard: And I don’t think he had been informed of that at all before that meeting. That is the impression I was getting.
Richard: And he didn’t sort of say, “Yes I was doing that.” He couldn’t say much with everyone there, of course, naturally …
Heather: Yeah, if the family had been there he probably would have told him it was an inappropriate sort of behaviour.
Richard: Yeah. With us watching over him. Yeah.
Patrik: Right. What he certainly did do is, I wouldn’t say he was blaming … He wasn’t blaming, but what he did say is, “Oh, we’ve had a good chat with all the senior consultants and with all the physicians, blah blah blah.” He was trying to delegate responsibility onto other people. Right? So he didn’t want to take personal responsibility for the decisions that have been made, but what I clearly said to him was, “Look, I’ve seen those situations many times, but what I don’t understand is why you haven’t involved your Mum in this process.” I said to him, “Have you asked, her what she want?” And he clearly said, “No, we haven’t.” Right.
Patrik: So, that-
- “FOLLOW THIS ULTIMATE 6 STEP GUIDE FOR FAMILY MEETINGS WITH THE INTENSIVE CARE TEAM, THAT GETS YOU TO HAVE PEACE OF MIND, CONTROL, POWER AND INFLUENCE FAST, IF YOUR LOVED ONE IS CRITICALLY ILL IN INTENSIVE CARE!”
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Richard: In the first place, that’s crazy.
Patrik: That’s right. I said to him, “By not being transparent in your decision making …” If they had told you yesterday, “Oh we’ve sedated her because we want to improve ventilation.” Well, you probably could have accepted that.
Richard: Well, they didn’t say that to me. They definitely did not say that to me at all. I agree with you. It would have been helpful information to understand that that was their true or false, but that was their presentation.
Heather: Yeah because the way things are going now with that sedation, Richard may have missed, I’m sorry Richard to say this, your last chance to have a communication about consent and whatever with your Mum and her wishes.
Richard: I believe that unless something’s changed that’s almost certain. That’s my feeling at the moment. Looking at where she’s at, looking at the drugs, looking at medication, look her situation in terms of what I call zero alertness I think whatever window that did happen was very limited, because of what had been going on, but that that’s now gone. I was very clearly, I was wishing to do that, was endeavouring to do it, but Mum wasn’t ready at that point. She was too unwell. In that very moment they gave me, a very short period of time for me to step back. Quite frankly I had a clear though of how things going on, including obviously navigating that systems. You know already how difficult is that. That’s slowing me down in terms of any true ability to work with my Mum on that.