Having had some prior experience on a care of the elderly ward, sometimes I’ve noticed parts of the medical profession trying to sustain a patient’s life at what seems to be all costs.
I have seen terminally ill patients slipping in and out of consciousness that have been prescribed antibiotics and a blood transfusion.
I have been in meetings where doctors discussed the option of using a tube feed on a frail 93-year-old lady who just wanted to be comfortable.
I have seen junior doctors eager to impress consultants trying to prolong the life of a patient at seemingly any cost. I tried to understand the rationale behind the decisions as the nursing staff clearly felt uncomfortable.
Is this too much? Does nursing see the death of a patient as a failure? Do individual nurses feel it as a personal failure?
The first time that a patient that you’ve cared for passes away might be distressing and leave you with a lot of questions, but that’s a normal part of becoming a nurse.
Do some doctors think of preservation of life as a challenge? And the dignity of the patient takes a back seat?
Do you think that doctors and nurses sometimes try to prolong life at the expense of quality-of-life?
Let me know your thoughts.