She is bedridden and became very dehydrated. We took her into the hospital where they gave her hydration. She seemed better. But the hospital says that she is dying of old age, and that the not eating or drinking is a sign of that, and we should just let it happen. Her living will says "only food and water". She has a DNR. We want them to put in a food tube (through the nose) for food and water and let us take her back home, but the hospital refuses to do it. We have tried to get another doctor but are told that the current doctor must refer us to them, which she will not do because she doesn't want my mother to have the feeding tube. She is cared by my sister who is a retired nurse. This sounds too much like us "pulling the plug" because we are only interested in "food and water". We are both her POAs. She is 97. Soon they will make us check out of the hospital. She will die of dehydration. Do we have any other options?

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I know it is hard to "let go", but if your mother has a DNR, she has taken the decision from you. When a person stops eating and drinking, their body is slowing down (dying) and digestive system is also stopping. It is a natural and painless process. My mother stopped eating and drinking and passed within a week, peacefully. It would have just prolonged her life and made her uncomfortable if we had put a feeding tube in.
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Not eating or drinking is part of the body's way of shutting down. It's a natural process that causes no pain. We tend to think of what it would feel like if we didn't eat or drink. We'd be uncomfortable, right? But in someone who's in the last stages of life it's not uncomfortable. If it were you would know. The body is an amazing machine, it knows what it's doing.

Even if you could find a Dr. who would give your mom an NG tube I would urge you not to. Let her have some control over her life. Let her make the decision, if she has in fact made one, to not eat or drink. Let her have some dignity and respect her wishes.
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If she can't swallow food and water, then her body is shutting down either through natural aging or due to an imminent illness. Regardless of the cause, she deserves a peaceful, painless, and least complicated way to pass away. It's never easy to say goodbye to a loved one. The doctor deems it cruel to authorize a feeding tube given the health status of the patient and the short longevity of the patient. Several years ago, my mother had a medical emergency which required a nose feeding tube - never again will I allow this. It was excruciating painful for me to see her in such discomfort as the nurse slowly stuck the long tube (slathered in a lube first) inside her nose. There's no numbing agent. Take a coffee stirrer or even a straw, slather it with Vasoline, then stick it up your nose...all the way up...if you can just imagine how uncomfortable this is.
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Would you like to have a feeding tube stuck up your nose?

Why do you want to do this to your mother?

The hospital has explained to you that your mother's appetite for food and drink is diminishing as she reaches the natural end of her life. She has left a living will requesting that her treatment be limited to food and water. Ensure that she is regularly offered food and water. Do not literally force them down her throat.

I'm so sorry for your and your sister's feeling that you aren't doing enough to save your mother. It is very hard to accept that there is nothing you can do, when there seem to be other measures available. But given your mother's stated wishes, and given her body's rejection of food and water, you are both going to need to find acceptance that she is reaching the close of her very long life, and let it happen peacefully.
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