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Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Want To Revoke My "Do Not Resuscitate" Directive

This past week, I learned about the other side of "Do Not Resuscitate" directives.

The Background

An elderly relative of mine is 81 years old and not in good health.  Her bad health seems unfair because although she smoked when she was younger, she has always watched what she ate, was a very active and talented athlete and had (and still has) a positive outlook on life.  She's had some close encounters with death in the past few years, but 2016 has been particularly tough.  The main artery to her digestive system was blocked and when she ate, she often had very severe pains in her abdomen.  She had to be hospitalized.

Even with all the medication at the hospital, things got bad enough that she decided she could not live with the pain and agreed to angioplasty in her superior mesenteric artery.  Full anesthesia was not an option given her other medical conditions, so she opted for a local and twilight. Even with that precaution, she was aware that she might not survive the surgery.  But she wasn't ready to give up just yet.