Family member in medicine is guiding a 93-year-old with moderate AD toward neck and spine surgery.

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GP is against it, but relations with mds who will. Cardiovascular and lung MD against surgery saying she is a high risk, yet they can find doctors who will do surgery as a favor. No conservative methods were tried, no nerve tests were administered to ascertain any damage. The test was scheduled and later cancelled at urging of surgeon. They keep going from doctor to doctor and finally they have found takers, but because the one is in medicine they have an endless supply of referal sources. The specific surgery would alter ability to swallow voice and the swelling from general anesthesia would definitely increase swelling in the brain. This family member is getting this Healthcare against all common sense and symptoms.

19 Comments

Who has medical poa and who is the caregiver?
The caregiver is a legal Co guardian.
Who is POA! Ahh, co guardian, who is the other? They have the ability to stop this. I would stop it, too risky, do not know if it will be successful. The family member MD needs to just back off. Administration of anesthesia could cause dementia to advance rapidly, it did with my AD mom when she had surgery at 81. Effects of anesthesia on the elderly is well documented. Is her PCP a geriatrician? Ask for info on effects of anesthesia

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Thank you. This is new terrain and its always good to hear other peoples experiences. Thank you so much
What will the surgery hope to improve ? Is the 93 year old in severe pain ? What would be the recovery and where would the recovery take place?

It would have to be a near life or death decision wherein the benefits outweighed the risks for me to allow my near 94 year old mom to have spinal surgery
Who is the other guardian?
A good person is Co also, trying to slow the process now.

I'm not sure the reasoning but they have the surgery on fast track and she's already seen cardio and lung. Lung doctor said hi risk, No. The preliminary cardio work up said hi risk but they were going to do tests. That's when they switched doctors to another area where family may have influence.

Surgeon agreed to do it post clearance.

She is not in chronic pain. She may have discomfort due to one compression but a doctor met with and was willing to do some kind of pain injection/block.

That was immediately refused when the one who is driving the care found out.

She has osteopena as well.
If there are co-guardians, don't they both have to approve before this can go ahead? That's how it works with POA. The "good" guardian should stand firm and should make their decision known to all the medical people involved, in writing. "As co-guardian of Jane Marie Doe, I do not consent to surgery on her neck." Attach a photo copy of the guardianship papers.
Do you have any idea what the motivation is for the family member to push forward with a high risk surgery and against the Primary doctor's good judgment? Is there some hidden motivation? It just seems an odd position to take.
One member of my local support group had her husband (dementia) assign their son's best friend as the medical POA. Both her son and the friend were mds. She felt that it might be too hard on her son to be objective. The friend had known the family for years but would more likely to be objective. She said that several times doctors advised something and she told them, "Well I'm sure you have good reasons for your recommendations. We'll just run this by his medical POA, Dr. Friend." This certainly surprised the treating doctors but it gave her piece of mind.

I think the situation here is one example of the conflict she feared. Her son might think that everything earthly possible should be tried, while a doctor not related might be able to be more objective and take a wait-and-see approach.

It is good to have a doctor in the family. He or she can explain the medical terms and help the whole family understand what is going on. But maybe it is not a good idea for him or her to make the decisions.

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