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Dr. P. Jyoti
Dr. P. Jyoti, Consultant MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 9126
Experience:  17 yrs experience in treating OPD & Emergency patients.
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I have an elderly mother who suffered a heart attack which

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I have an elderly mother who suffered a heart attack which damaged her kidneys and caused a build up of fluid in her lungs which required intubation to allow her to breathe. Then in the hospital she had a stroke leaving her in a persistent vegetative state. She was on a ventilator and was sent to the Hospice floor of our local hospital for her end of life care. On June 7th her feeding tube was disconnected and on June 8th she was removed from the ventilator. Today, 11 days later, she is still breathing on her own. But the feeding was not resumed. Is she being put in danger of starvation ? We thought her condition would be what she would die of, but after so many days are we instead allowing her to due due to a lack of nutrition ? Should we resume feeding asap ?

I can appreciate your concern.

Yes, if she is not receiving anything intravenously, then after 11 days she is in danger of going into complications from lack of both food and fluids.

Deciding to start feeding again is ultimately an emotional question.

You must note that even if feeding is started, she is not likely to resume her brain activity and will continue to be in the same vegetative state as before.

If she is not given any feeding, and if there is no intravenous feeding as well, then by not doing anything, the purpose of removing her ventilator, that is, to allow her a peaceful release, will be served eventually.

Hope this shows you the way forward.

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Dr.P.Jyoti, MD.
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