Inappropriate Intensive Care

2012 January 16

Lubbock Heart Hospital, Dec 16-17, 2005Systems develop as solutions to problems, but once developed, they have a tendency to fall into a rut and go on even when perceived to have flaws.

Sometimes even to become part of the problem.

Intensive care in the context of incurable diseases is a case in point.

What is the purpose of intensive care?

It is aimed at Intensive monitoring and Intensive therapy so that individual organ dysfunctions are identified early and corrected and lives are saved. Which is a great thing to achieve when the life is indeed salvageable and when the salvaged life is of reasonable quality.

Unfortunately, medical science, by and large, seems to have failed to restrain this facility with the result that even people who are obviously dying of incurable diseases are subjected to isolation in intensive care units where there is no difference between day and night, where they are imprisoned by monitors and devices with a tube in every orifice, where they die after prolonged suffering, devoid of human contact.

A study published by Ruth D Piers and colleagues in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA. 2011;306:2694-2703, 2725-2726) found that 27% of respondents (doctors and nurses working in intensive care units) perceived inappropriate care happening in at least one patient under their care on a particular day.

And in 89% of such cases, patients received inappropriately “too much” care.

But the system goes on, regardless.

Better protect yourself with “advanced care directives”!

One Response
  1. Kurnia Ito permalink
    January 18, 2012

    I had just real experience with my 86 yo auntie.After 2 nights isolation with tubes in many parts of her body we the family decided enough is enough. So we found the best private room for her and asked to move her there. Then we gathered all members of family giving each person the turn to whisper to her hear that nothing to fear or becoming. Worldly burden for her. We are all ready to let you begin the new journey. I slept in the room for the night always looking any change to her comateous expression.Then early morning after the nurses measured the blood pressure I knew it won’t be long.Just ten minutes later she lost the breath no movement anymore. I called the doctor she was officially pronoinced dead. We soon prepare for burial ceremony. No tears no regrets very peaceful n relief for all of us.

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