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The latest on Harold... - Unbeliever's Land
...The continuing chronicles...
unbeliever64
unbeliever64
The latest on Harold...
If you've read Angela's journal, you know that Harold hadn't been in his new nursing home 24 hours, when they raced him off AGAIN to the emergency room, with 103 fever, low heart rate, and a massive blood infection. We got the call at 2am Saturday morning, and spent the next two hours calling hospitals and relatives.

It didn't look good. The doctor who first treated him at the nursing home told us he thought this was it -- Harold wouldn't make it.

He didn't take into account the fact that Harold's a tough old bird...

Yup, tons of antibiotics and fluids later, and he's doing much better, nodding, shaking his head, even saying a few words with visitors.

One nurse I spoke with, became highly offended with me when I pointed out (AGAIN) that all of this was against Harold's wishes -- that he clearly informed all of his friends and family that he would NOT want to live in this condition, and even went to the effort of having a "Directive To Physicians" filled out with his lawyers, to try and stop any attempts to prolong his life once he was severely incapacitated.

She clearly thought I was a ghoul, told me she "didn't appreciate my remarks". And of course, that hit me exactly where it hurts most. Even after all this, I still *FEEL* like a ghoul every time I bring up his wishes, and mention the Directive.

But dammit! This is a legal document, that he filled out in his home state, that is SPECIFICALLY SUPPOSED TO BE RESPECTED by medical personnel. But we have yet to find *ONE* nurse, doctor, or nursing home administrator that gives a damn about some obscure "legal papers". They are just going to keep racing him in and out of emergency rooms, pumping him full of drugs, in a frantic merry-go-round to keep Harold Alive At All Costs.

He has no quality of life left. He hardly knows where he is from one moment to the next. He's only awake for brief periods, and it requires a great deal of effort for him to recognize anyone, or make even basic requests.

HE SAW THIS COMING AHEAD OF TIME, AND MADE EVERY EFFORT TO PREVENT THIS VERY SITUATION!

How the hell does someone escape from a medical system determined to treat them against their will?

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Current Emotional State: angry angry

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kayre From: kayre Date: May 7th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Drive-by comment here, hope you'll forgive me but maybe I can help.

First, find out if the facility he is in has an ombudsman. Most hospitals do, and many long-term care facilities.

Second, talk to Hospice and see if they can offer any guidance.

Good luck! I hope you can help ease his situation.
unbeliever64 From: unbeliever64 Date: May 7th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's looking like he'll be leaving the hospital shortly -- but I may have a talk with the ombudsman *ANYWAY*, and maybe their legal department, just to see if these guys have ANY conception of a "Directive to Physicians" and what to do about it.

In any case, we're already making sure that when Harold arrives at the nursing home THIS time, he'll be directly admitted to the hospice program -- which we're given to understand, is more knowledgeable about DNR orders, Directives to Physicians, and following the orders of the POA (Power of Attorney).

The doctor even agrees, hospice is best.

Thanks for the advice... :)
kightp From: kightp Date: May 7th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Boy, I don't know. But I hope to find out in time to put my wishes in iron-clad form should something like this happen to me.
unbeliever64 From: unbeliever64 Date: May 7th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm quite sure Harold's Texas lawyers thought his Directive to Physicians *WAS* iron-clad... but Texas doctors act like it's meaningless.

It's looking like the trick is to get him into hospice -- and *NEVER* let him back into a hospital again. The hospital only cares about your health, regardless of your documented wishes. Hospice is there to follow your wishes (at least, in theory)...
kightp From: kightp Date: May 7th, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah - hospice is a *great* idea. They'll look out after his interests, regardless of what his doctors think, and they're used to dealing with all kinds of, um, cantakerous patients.
amaebi From: amaebi Date: May 9th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
How the hell does someone escape from a medical system determined to treat them against their will?

The following is As I Understand It:
So long as one has the ability to articulate and the patience to keep doing so, one just demands to discharge oneself.

It doesn't sound as if Harold's up to that, though. :(
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