"Dementia" as cause of death

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Lila13, May 24, 2006.

  1. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    I found it very strange that the doctor who saw my mother the day before her death gave "dementia" as the cause of death. Dementia is a collection of symptoms rather than an illness, and usually people don't die of it. I think she probably died because she stopped eating and drinking, and the hospital staff didn't bother to put her on a drip. I thought there should have been a post mortem and inquest, as the doctor who saw her the day before obviously hadn't thought she was dying, but the hospital staff didn't want to bother. I signed a form saying there was no negligence, but of course signed that when I was in such a state of shock I didn't know what I was doing.

    Well, it is too late now.

    Lila
     
  2. shauny

    shauny Registered User

    Oct 27, 2005
    57
    north-east england
    cause of death

    Lila, first let me say how sorry i am about your loss my thoughts are with you. Secondly as a professional involved in the care of the elderly i am appalled at the way you have been treated. I am not you but if i were i would consider asking for some explanation. Take care Shauny.
     
  3. jarnee

    jarnee Registered User

    Mar 18, 2006
    181
    leicestershire
    Hi

    I am so sorry to hear about this.

    I, also, think you have been treated terribly...but given my own recent experiences when my mum was in hospital dying of cancer, your experiences don't surprise me at all.. !!!!!!

    The problem now is that you are grieving so may not feel strong enough to challenge & ask for an explanation or, conversely, you may feel very angry and afraid that you might over-react (Sorry, I don't mean that the way it sounds!!)

    I seem to remember my gran had Alzheimers on her death certificate, but there were other things listed too.

    I'll check

    My thoughts and good wishes to you at this difficult time

    Jarnee
     
  4. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    Thanks

    Yes, of course both are true, I'm too shocked to react rationally and angry and afraid of over-reacting.

    And of course whatever I do it's no use for her now!

    Lila
     
  5. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    16,061
    Toronto, Canada
    Dear Lila,
    I'm very sorry to hear of your mother's death and the insensitive manner in which you were treated.

    I have also read that in the final stages of dying, a person stops eating & drinking. One would think that medical staff would recognize this and inform the family so they could try and prepare themselves.

    Joanne
     
  6. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    Yes, if we'd been warned we'd have been there.

    I don't know if it would have made any difference to her, it would have made a difference to us. When my brother saw her on Wednesday evening he said she wouldn't speak to him and didn't seem to know who he was.

    The doctor who saw her the day before didn't know she was dying. And it was a ward for elderly people with psychiatric problems.

    We'll never know if she died because she stopped eating and drinking or vice versa.

    I suppose we should have known, but even the experts didn't know.

    The ward sister asked if I wanted to come and talk to her but of course I was in too much shock. Anyway it was a long way, they couldn't get that into their conceited little heads, talking as if we were just round the corner.

    Obviously if she'd been in a hospital nearer her house or mine I could have visited more often.

    Lila

    Lila
     
  7. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    1,656
    Sheffield
    Dear Lila
    I have only just read your thread..I am so sorry about your mum and my heartfelt sympathy goes to you at this time. You really have had such a bad time...
    Take care
    Wendy
    x
     
  8. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    Hello Wendy

    Thank you.

    Lila
     
  9. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    Lila, I'm sorry for your loss, and agree that the treatment (or lack of it) and poor communications were very bad.

    But here is where my advice may differ from others. I'm not exactly known for walking away from trouble, but I would say, "Now forget it".
    I don't mean forget your Mum of course, but just draw a line under the whole sorry affair and let go of it, along with all the anger and stress. Your Mum is beyond pain & distress now, nothing is going to bring her back or change anything which has happened. As you said yourself, "of course whatever I do it's no use for her now!"

    You have been through the most horrendous time, for a long time, and have gone through an artificial form of prolonged grieving whilst your Mum was still alive. You've run yourself ragged trying to deal with a lot of seemingly incompetent people, but it's an imperfect world. Now you've had the shock of her death, and are facing up to grieving for real. Let yourself grieve, let yourself cry, let yourself heal ...

    Then pick up your life Lila - I'm sure that's what Mum would have wanted for you.
     
  10. keen2108

    keen2108 Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    17
    Diagnosis

    Hi,

    I know there are funny rulings regarding what it says on a death certificate. My sister had a brain haemorrage. They had no idea whether she had fell or it was just something that happened in the past as there was no obvious bruising. They still however put the technical wording of Subdural haematoma (excuse the spelling) but before that they put "alcoholism".

    As you say Alcoholism, or Dementia in your circumstances, isn't the actual cause of death and isn't the reason why the body stops functioning. In my sisters case it may or may not have even been connected yet they do write it down.

    I know it won't bring her back but perhaps some investigations into the wording may help.

    xx
     
  11. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    I don't think I agree with Lynne because that is why the NHS and Social Services get away with it, treating us as subhuman because they think it doesn't matter so much when a demented patient dies. (Not all of them, of course, no doubt there are many genuinely caring people working in hospitals and in Social Services.)

    I keep asking myself what my mother would want me to do. She has never looked after someone with dementia, the people she looked after had serious old age problems, but were generally mentally OK. Of course in those days (when she was looking after relatives) people with dementia were generally hurried away into an asylum or nursing home, hardly ever visited, only mentioned in whispers, (not in front of the children), and then they died soon of infection or neglect.

    I have written a long letter to my mother's GP, I don't know if I'll get any answer, after all I wrote and phoned often enough when she was still alive and didn't get answers.

    Lila
     
  12. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    Lila, I understand your feelings (both as a result of what you've been through, and because anger is a natural part of all grieving).

    My suggestion & concern was for you, Lila.
    How long are you going to continue to let this rule you, to the detriment of your health and your life, which you can now pick up and try to get back to some semblance of normality.

    Of course you will do what you feel you have to do, and I have no doubt that many here will agree with you & applaud you for it if you decide to campaign for better treatment than you & Mum received. Just don't run yourself completely into the ground.

    Best wishes
     
  13. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    I agree with Lynne though I understand totally your position, Lila.

    My Mum insisted on using her private healthcare for needless operations and the last one she had [on her bad back, I advised her against it] made life very difficult for her in her final years. Mum didn't have dementia, by the way.

    Whether he was at fault or not, she blamed her private consultant, and her anger over the operation plagued her - and us - for as long as she lived afterwards.

    I guess it gave her something to focus on, but a life in anger was no real life at all.

    My main reflection was of the waste of her scant money in paying for private health care, and how it turned and bit her.
     
  14. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    1,656
    Sheffield
    Dear Lila....I have to agree with Lynne....Hate and anger are so destructive to those who are left behind....I too am thinking about YOU and if you let it your anger will truly eat you up....Having said that I really hope you succeed in getting answers but PLEASE take care.....
    Love
    Wendy
    x
     
  15. LindaD

    LindaD Registered User

    Nov 17, 2004
    30
    Suffolk
    Mum died

    My sincere good wishes to you - my Mum died too this week, not from dementia (!) she was in hospital with a severe blood infection and her death was as much of a shock to the nursing staff as it was to us. She had seemed to be improving slightly but she passed away in her sleep.

    Love and hugs
     
  16. Whocares

    Whocares Registered User

    Mar 18, 2006
    27
    Hi Lila. so sorry yoiur mum died, I lot my mum last week funeral was today.

    Death cert says dementia and chest infection, I dont think I would have ever been ready to let go of my mum but her death is a release for her, she isnt in the loop any more crying being confused forgetting how to walk and talk,

    I loved her like a baby and I know she loved me. Could she have been saved with a traumatic trip to hospital drip fed and drugged who knows? Selfishly I wanted her to get better but even if she had she would still be sad and confused but alive.
    What price life?
    J
     
  17. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    Yes, I realise some people reach the stage where death would be a blessing for all concerned, but I didn't think my mother had reached that stage. In the right place and with the right care she might still have had a life worth living.

    Lila
     

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