Do Everything You Can for Mom-Do Everything
Those words can make the physician shudder. In the years before 1970, approximately, the words translated to, “Do all the tests and treatments you think might help mom get over her condition, or at least make her comfortable.”
In the mid to late 1960’s it became apparent that people were dying in the hospital, at home, or on the street with functional hearts that happened to beat irregularly. If untreated that person proceeded to death. It was found that in hospital or out, a person’s circulation could be maintained to the brain and heart and other vital organs until a hospital team could convert the heart beat to a regular rhythm. Many people have been able to live normal lives after a near death experience.
Some unfortunate rulings by state attorney general in Mass. and NY made failure to do a full resuscitation effort on all dying patients a criminal offense. As a result, physicians often feel, are, obligated to perform chest compressions to perfuse blood while intubating and breathing for the patient and administering electric shocks to the heart and injecting a multitude of drugs in an all-out effort to prevent death that is inevitable from other than cardiac causes. Only after all these steps to the “Modern American Hospital Death Dance” have been completed is the person allowed to be dead, for good and certain dead.
“Do Everything You Can for Mom-Do Everything”
We all need to be certain what everything is. We need to let our families know what our hopes and expectations are when death is expected. We need to have executed a medical power of attorney and/or completed an advance directive form. When we have done those things, then we will have done everything for Mom (and Dad of course.)