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When to treat and when not to

Kat19

New member
Apr 24, 2022
5
0
Good morning
My friend's mother is 90, has severe dementia but has been cared for at home until two weeks ago when following what was diagnosed as a chest infection she collapsed and was admitted to hospital. She was diagnosed with several clots in her lungs. He has been told that she is very ill. She has now developed pneumonia and is being treated with antibiotics but the doctor has stopped all her other medication - anxiety, dementia, thyroid and treatment for the clots. My friend was told that is she recovered from the pneumonia, she would not return to the same 'condition' that she was in prior to the infection and that it would leave its mark.
My friend is very distressed as his mother is in an awful condition. Her anxiety and dementia is severe; she is breathless and not mobile. She is not eating, has pulled out the cannulas several times and is now on oral antibiotics but distressed when taking them.
I don't know if anyone can advise, but is my friend able to request that they do not administer the antibiotics? He has POA and feels that this treatment of the pneumonia is now just prolonging her suffering as opposed to improving her quality of life given all the other issues.
Thank you
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
76,074
0
Kent
Hello @Kat16. Welcome.

If the doctors have withdrawn all medication and your friend`s mum is very distressed, he could ask for his mother to be connected to a syringe driver. This is often used for end of life care and ministers a measured dose of morphine to ease the symptoms you describe and allow the patient some comfort.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
12,182
0
Yorkshire
Hello @Kat19
a warm welcome to DTP

so sorry to read of your friend's mother's situation ... your friend must be heart broken and so concerned ... he's fortunate to have you looking out for him

He has every right to ask for a blunt conversation with the medics, to put his questions and concerns to them and ask for straight forward responses .... there should be meds to help his mother settle, whether those are meds she took previously or those to keep her comfortable if this is indeed end of life

Best wishes to all of you
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,483
0
South coast
I dont think that your friend can "request that the antibiotics are withdrawn", but they can certainly talk to the doctor about whether it is appropriate to treat the pneumonia, given the stage of dementia.
I did this when mum had a stroke and they were talking about inserting stents. The consultant agreed with me and actually sounded relieved.
 

Kat19

New member
Apr 24, 2022
5
0
Thank you all for your helpful advice. Canary, I think you have used the words I was looking for - i.e. the appropriateness of antibiotics given the other issues. I have told him that a rational and open conversation with the doctor tomorrow is essential.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,208
0
High Peak
All things considered, it would certainly be kinder to 'let nature take its course'.

Your friend can/should definitely discuss this with his mother's doctors.
 

Sheelagh7

Registered User
Feb 25, 2022
60
0
@Kat19 I had a similar conversation with my mum's GP last month. He was very guarded with what he was saying to me as he had two students shadowing him, but he agreed that it was "not in mum's best interests" to continue to be treated with antibiotics. He also doubled the strength of mum's morphine patches to keep the pain in mum's gangrene feet at bay, so hopefully mum is now more comfortable. Amazingly she's still hanging in there!
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,208
0
High Peak
Your poor, poor mum. How can anyone deal with gangrene in both feet? I think I would need the morphine to wipe away the sheer horror of that as much as for the pain.

Hoping for a peaceful ending for you both - no one should have to live like that :(
 

Sheelagh7

Registered User
Feb 25, 2022
60
0
Your poor, poor mum. How can anyone deal with gangrene in both feet? I think I would need the morphine to wipe away the sheer horror of that as much as for the pain.

Hoping for a peaceful ending for you both - no one should have to live like that :(
Aahh thanks @Jaded'n'faded , it's an awful situation, but luckily she isn't really aware of what her feet look like, just the pain when she is re-positioned in bed. The GP actually said to me last month what do you want me to do, we can't hasten the end of her life. I so wish I had said no to IV antibiotics when she was rushed to hospital from home in May last year, the hospital didn't think she would last the night, somehow she pulled through but she's had no quality of life since then, plus she's having to pay horrendous amounts of money for the privilege of being kept alive! The system is so wrong. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing isn't it?!
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,208
0
High Peak
It's the ultimate insult, isn't it? Paying through the teeth for the privilege of being kept alive.

I remember feeling like that when it was my mum. Outrageous. Especially knowing my mum's very strong views about quality of life being everything...

Take care x
 

Banjomansmate

Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
4,083
0
Dorset
This is why I think we should all have an Advanced Directive placed with our GP so the medical profession and our relatives know what our wishes are.
I’m so sorry that both you and your Mum are having to go through this @Sheelagh7, it isn’t fair on anybody.