Jan 12
neslonob1 , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Turn Off Life Support?

A close friend who had a stroke five days ago, who initially showed some progress but whose condition worsened over the last three days, is currently on life support. In the first couple of days he was communicative. However he is now in an induced coma and unresponsive when they periodically reduce the medication.

They are planning to remove life support tomorrow and expect the outcome to be fatal.

%u200BI read an article that suggested that life support should be maintained. That caregiver pessimism can lead to withdrawal of life support in cases were outcomes could have been acceptable if maintained.

%u200BDoes anyone have any experience in this? I would appreciate any advice.received. I have to speak with the family tomorrow and unable to decide whether I should bring this up.
  • Dottieann
    This is very very sad...I will say prayers..God Bless this Soul...but do not know what you are trying to say to me could you explain.
  • fluffy
    I do know that brain scans can show 'what percentage' of cognitive function is remaining, when a patient is in Coma. I am not able to understand 'who' read an article about withdrawing Life Support in cases where a good quality of life could have been had....if Life Support had been continued? I know how upset you must be. A dear friend's sister just underwent 3 additional strokes, while she was in Coma, and the doctor was most definite with the family that the Cerebellum had virtually no activity within the brain at all. This is where cognitive function is centered, I believe, so it was made clear to the family through neurological assessment/brain wave activity. I hope your friend's brain function can be made clear to the family and to you.....It's the critical piece of info., when trying to decide whether to end Life Support. God Bless you and your friend, and the family of your friend...These are hard, hard days for you all.....
  • bhanes
    That is so sad and I can't imagine what the family is going through. My suggestion is to make sure that they have all the information there is. Praying for all.
  • sprayer1
    i had a sister who was put on life support after she went in a coma, we were told she would die in 30-60 minutes, she lived for 12 hrs after being taken off & i will always believe she might have recovered had we not pulled the plug! its a hard choice to make & i guess no one can know for sure what will happen until it does, but if yur not ready & maybye enough time has not passed dont do it- wait until you feel yu have taken enough time to make those choices- yu cant bring a life back once it is gone, goodluck with what yu do & wish yu peace with what yu do.
  • Lordwatkins
    It depends on how your friend was physically and mentally prior to his stroke. What parts of his body will he have trouble with when he recovers, will he still be able to work? I say this because I had a major stroke at 45 and prior to that was in great physical and mental health, I ran 15 miles every 2 days and was a weight lifter. Also, my job was such that I could return after I learned to speak and walk again. When your buddy comes out of his current health issue, will he be able to handle the loss of half his body functions, people take for granted? I know sometimes I think I should have been let go, but every day I gain a tiny bit more of my previous self. It sucks no matter what. You can't save him, unless the family and friends realize the good and bad.sorry if that was unhelpful. After a year, I gained most everything back, but Dr.so say I am rare on that.
  • AHAASAKatie
    This is such a very hard decision to make. I have reached out to the editor of our Stroke Connection magazine to see if we have any appropriate articles or family stories that can help you and the family have perspective on this. If I am able to find something, I will post it here. In the mean time, know that you are all in my thoughts & prayers for clarity of mind and peace with the decisions that must be made in the near future. Best Katie
  • AHAASAKatie
    Good morning again, I asked around and one of my coworkers is a former hospice nurse. Below is her response for you and for other members of the community who could be going through the same thing. Please also know that we are here for you and the family, today and in the future if you need us. Katie - that’s a hard one when they don’t already have hospice involved. I would probably tell them to involve the social worker, chaplain at the hospital- see if they can meet with family and be there when they take them off life support. Each ICU usually has a special family room to take them to because only 2 people can actually be in the patient’s room, however, sometimes they will let a few more in at the actual time. Then I would definitely tell them to reach out to a local SSG and our network later for support. Hope this helps a little. Thanks! Lisa
  • cdameron
    I am so sorry you are in this situation. End of life considerations are many when the question of the future of the person you love is involved. Philosophically you want to gather information, but part of that has to be how the patient feels about what should be done and not done for them if life can't be sustained without machines. A doctor shouldn't be in charge of that decision, the patients beliefs should be considered in that decision. I hope there was a conversation, even in passing, about life's end. It is hard not to project your own hope but maybe that is what is needed. May that conversation be blessed with gentle wisdom.
  • Mia905
    I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. my prayers are with him and his loved ones. Does your friend have a DNR? I think it's important to honor his wishes. God Bless.
  • Steffy 1964
    Steffy 1964,
    I would definitely not take him off life support. I had 4 hemorrhagic strokes at the same time. I was in a coma, and totally unresponsive for 45 days. That was in September 2015. My left side was paralyzed until into November. I realize I am the exception but give the man more time.. He may come out of it. Today I am fully functional. I have a limp, in my left leg. I have minor speech problems. Cognitively I don't think of the easy way to do things. But other than that I am fully functional. Please give the guy a little while longer. Did I mention my whole brain was affected?
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