Is it the right decision to remove ventilator, stop nutrients, stop daily meds, and wait for him to pass?
Hi, my grandfather has a number of conditions, he is 86 and has parkinsins, diabetes and also has congestive heart failure. A few weeks ago he was in the hospital, they thought he was going to pass, he was unresponsive for several days and had pneumonia but he ended up pulling through. He finally went home with oxygen and had an aid that helped him with exercise and helped his wife care for him. A few days later he was doing bad again so they had him rushed to the hospital. He was in the ICU and they hooked him up to a respirator cus he had a hard time breathing. A few days later they took him off the respirator to see how he does. After 12 hours they had to put him back on the respirator because he was starting to tire out. The doctors then said his chances are very slim, and even if he does beat the odds and pull through, his quality of life will be bad due to the fact that he keeps having respiratory problems. Plus they said his kidneys are starting to shut down.
So last Friday they asked him if he wants them to turn off the ventilator and leave it off and he blinked his eyes to say “yes”. So Saturday morning they turned it off and only gave him an oxygen mask. His heart rate was in the 100 range, oxygen was in the 90-97 range most of the day. He was expected to pass within 12 hours of them taking him off the ventilator. But he did not pass. His heart rate dropped to the 60’s range that night. Sunday they moved him out of the ICU and into a room. They shut the machine off that measures heartrate and oxygen because they said the numbers no longer matter at this point and did not want the family to focus on the numbers. They also stopped giving him his daily meds, including his insulin so he would stop the fight.
Well today is Tuesday morning and he is still the same. He wakes up every few hours and seems alert, and responds to yes and no questions still by blinking his eyes. He often says he is in pain, due to being thirsty, and all we can do is give him a sponge with water to put in his mouth. They are however giving him pain meds to make him comfortable. But he gets thirsty an awful lot and I hardly doubt the sponge with water is quenching his thirst. He is not on an IV ether so he has no fluids going into him. They said his urine will get dark and come to a near stand still eventually, but it still has not happened. I was just wondering if we are doing the right thing because if he is fighting this hard without any meds or fluids or respiratory support, I don’t see why they said recovery was not possible. So at this stage should we still stick with the plan and continue to wait for him to pass, or should we consider putting him back on his meds and giving him fluids?