Sunday, May 18, 2014

Prolonging Life

"Hi, I'm on the hospital team that is taking care of you. I read in your chart that you are here because of shortness of breath."

"Yes, I feel like I can't breath."

"Now, I read in a note that your nurse wrote that you don't want a chest xray or an IV."

"That's right. I've lived a long life and I don't believe in prolonging my life anymore."

"I understand that and I respect your wishes, but I'm worried that you might have a pneumonia. If that's the case then we can give you some antibiotics so that you can feel better. In order to check, I'd like to do an xray and a blood test."

"Will the xray and blood test prolong my life?"

"I don't know. Until we know for certain what's wrong I can't tell you what may or may not help, but those will help guide our decisions and improve the quality of the life you have left."

"I just don't want to prolong my life."

"I understand that. I just want to help make you comfortable. Think of it like food. I know you don't want to prolong your life, but that breakfast you are eating is also prolonging your life."

"They are also giving me oxygen in this mask. Does oxygen prolong life?"

"Why don't I call your daughter and we can all have a meeting together? Is that okay?"

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