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What are the pros and cons of feeding tubes?

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My husband's family is dealing with a similar situation. Google "Will a feeding tube prolong life". Feeding tubes used as a temporary measure while people are recuperating from an illness do prolong life. Feeding tubes used because the body is no longer able to process food do not prolong life. In fact, forcing the body to accept nutrition when it is shutting down can cause discomfort.

See if your family can have a consultation with Palliative Care. Hospice is a form of palliative care but, hopefully, you will have access to the other forms of palliative care that are available. Best of luck.
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Most definitely you need a hospice consult. And you need an understanding of Stage 4 liver cancer. Your dad will likely need pain management by hospice as his cancer takes over more. If his doctor hasn’t suggested it, then I am leary of that doctor. What does your father's advanced directive say about feeding tubes? Can your father eat or is he refusing food? Partly, that could be the body preparing to die. A hospice consult is invaluable.
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1nephew Nov 1, 2018
I appreciate your answer.
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My stepfather had a gastric feeding tube put in at direction of his biological daughter. He lived for 15 months, slowly losing his mind (his body was paralyzed from stroke). Recently I saw her at her husband's funeral some 25 years later, and she said she did NOT have gastric tube put in for her husband who also had stroke. based on her experience with her dad. I also refused gastric feeding tube for my husband when he had a stroke 5 years ago. Yes, it is difficult to see someone slowly starve, but the patient doesn't feel any hunger, but will need mouth care for dry mouth. Your dad is ready for hospice NOW.
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Will a feeding tube bring him back to the level of health he had before he had cancer or will it prolong his life with no chance of that level returning ?

the advance directive my husband and i each have state no life prolonging devices/whatever but thats personal to our opininions.

I even have a tattoo saying no code/no cpr/stroke meds ok. But i forgot to list pain meds ok and have been too lazy to go back again. But its in my paperwork. All that will probably be ignored so ive told my daughter to sue whoever does ignore it.

But again ... its all personal. Just imagine how you would feel on getting life sustaining whatevers with no chance of recovering your life abilities.

My son died at home with aids so I understand how helpless you must feel.

Make sure he has pain meds.

Be kind.
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My mother had a feeding tube placed after a stroke when there was great hope of recovery. We have no regrets doing this as she needed to be fed as she went through therapy and attempted recovery. Your dad’s situation sounds vastly different, I’d ask the doctor about the goal of the feeding tube, is it for comfort, to sustain life, to provide nutrition temporarily or permanently? In an illness so cruel as liver cancer there are likely better ways to provide for his comfort and nutrition does become less important in terminal illness. I’m sorry you’re walking this road, not easy I know
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Please, NO! It will not extend his life. One cannot survive stage 4 liver cancer. Support him with love and pain management . At this point nutrition doesn’t really matter.
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NO feeding tube.
There can be problems with them as the patient no longer requires food if it is still being given it can lead to problems.
With a Stage 4 I would contact Hospice and let them guide your Dad and you in decisions.
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Did your Dad have his wishes known in case something like this should happen? Did he have anyone assigned as health care proxy? Did he ever express his wishes verbally if he got sick?.
.Personally, my mother never wanted feeding tubes & told me so when she had her marbles...now she don’t & Im health care proxy, & if she doesn’t eat or drink....,I just keep trying to give her protein drinks ...or you can try Ensure... but she’s 91 1/2 with dementia & I would not prolong suffering....
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We are all assuming the doctor suggested it to try to squeeze out more money, but he/she might have suggested it due to a hysterical patient or family requesting that they do anything/everything to keep the father alive.

Chelli, please trust those of us who tell you that your best route here is no feeding tube and put him on Hospice now.

It is very normal to fear death for ones self or one's loved one. But fear causes us to make unwise decisions. A feeding tube in a stage 4 liver cancer patient is an unwise decision in my opinion.
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I would consider quality of life before imsert feeding tube. If there is hope of full recovery and does it change the overall prognosis.
The other suggestions here are wonderful.
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