Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sign that DNR order!

Okay, folks. When you're dying, how do you want the medical people to treat you? Do you want heroic measures taken no matter how painful they are - and how ultimately useless?

Rhonda Steiner sent me a very powerful article called "Can we just print this out, post it on the fridge, and be done with it?" that was written by a nurse. And I really beg you to click through and read the whole thing. Here's how it gets started:

You know it's going to be a bad day when you walk in and somebody immediately calls a code.

Except this one wasn't a code. It was, technically, a "Rapid Response Team" situation, but given that the patient ended up intubated and 100% ventilated, it was a code. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

A lot of families hate the idea of signing a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) on Grandpa or Grandmother. They think that a DNR means "Do Not Treat" or "Ignore" or "Hasten the Death Of" rather than what it actually means.

To wit: Grandpa was not in the best of shape when he came to us X days ago. He'd had two major ischesmic (clotting) strokes and a large, horrible bleed in his brain and was breathing irregularly and gaspingly when he was delivered to us by a relieved ambulance crew. Grandpa hadn't moved on his own or responded to anything short of pretty intense pain for days.

Grandpa was a full-code, or a "Do anything and everything to save this person's life" when he came to us.

Let me be totally clear here: Grandpa was in no way, shape, or form, ever going to get better. The best neurologists and neurosurgeons in the country had already determined that. Okay? Okay. You got it. Grandpa's gonna die; the only question left is how.

So go on over and read the graphic details of exactly what was done to this poor man because the family would not sign a DNR order.

I've signed mine, okay? Did it a long time ago.

How about you?


  1. Anonymous5:43 PM

    Thanks for an important reminder Ellie!
    annie c

  2. Anonymous5:53 PM

    So have we. Marilyn


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