ICU

Tough Conversations

If the tough conversations don’t happen before the end of life, life can get really tough in the end. Rondelle suffered a stroke that left her alive enough to give her family the heartache of making decisions that Rondelle wouldn’t have wanted. She had sufficient life left in her body, but not the quality kind. Her heart, kidneys, liver, and stomach were working adequately; her brain and lungs weren’t. Rondelle didn’t discuss her end of life choices with her family or have her wishes recorded. In a stressful moment, her family consented to a machine with a tube to breathe for her and a tube surgically placed in her abdomen to feed her. She was in a comatose state.

If end of life decisions aren’t made in advance, medical personnel legally have to take heroic measures to keep people alive. Family members are forced to make instant life and death medical decisions in a very stressful time. As a result of this common occurrence, Rondelle suffered from crushed bones in her chest from CPR and her body is now in an artificial prison for weeks to months. Even with the best around the clock care in intensive care units, comatose people like Rondelle still get bedsores, urinary tract infections and pneumonias.

Have the tough conversation with your family. What you want may not be honored unless your wishes are expressed in writing.

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