“The voice on the phone is demanding, quavering, pleading; “Dr. deMaine, you are going to be the attending critical care doctor when our mother is transferred to your hospital today. She needs to be taken off the respirator and allowed to die. We have been pleading with the doctors at the burn center, but they keep doing more procedures. We want her off life support as soon as she gets there.”
I am a bit taken aback since I’d never heard of the patient, let alone that I am destined to be her doctor in the ICU. I tell the family to try to come to the hospital to meet with us today when the patient arrives.
After hanging up the phone, I receive the call from the transfer coordinator, “We have a patient in the burn unit who is 87 years old. She has 50% third degree burns and 20% second degree burns. There have been multiple grafts. The complications have been pneumonia, stroke, heart failure and adult respiratory distress syndrome. The house staff will fill you in. They think she should stay there but the family is very unhappy that the patient is suffering through all these treatments…Continue reading…
Here is Dr. Jim Demaine’s Blog: End of Life- thoughts from an MD