Palliative sedation; Could anyone give me any idea how "unconscious" fairly deep midazolan actually makes you?

Asked by

I suppose this matters little now as my mother passed away three weeks ago, but it's still kind of haunting me.


She had very advanced lung cancer - could not walk and wasn't eating solids. I cared for her pretty unsuccessfully trying to get her quality of life somewhere near decent this year, but nothing really worked. And if something did work, something else went wrong. Sickness, infection, and worst of all pain. It was hell getting the right mediation and we weren't really getting anywhere.


So they finally convinced me to take her to a hospice because I was fearful she was at the point where she wouldn't even be able to take pain meds orally with the hope of getting the pain under control. In retrospect they clearly started palliative sedation with midazolam, without making us fully aware of it. None of us interpreted "very sleepy" as a coma she would never wake up from.


But that's what happened within four or five days. But I'm not concerned about that, or the main controversy that it might or might not be euthanasia. I knew she couldn't live much longer. My main concern, as it was it the way through, was keeping her out of pain and discomfort. The worst thought is I imagine the midazolam did not relieve pain or distress, as they were convinced the massive amounts of oxycodone she was on wasn't working and reduced it, at the same time they made her basically a zombie who couldn't even communicate her torment! Could anyone give me any idea how "unconscious" fairly deep midazolan actually makes you, she certainly woke up in the first few days in pain and I had to nag them to give top up pain relief. She stopped being able to communicate in any way after a few days. I can only hope the real coma she was in at the end came on sooner rather than later. Paralysed and in pain with us talking cheerfully is the stuff of nightmares, I can understand some peoples fear of hospitals.

Can you help this caregiver?

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support