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njnyjobs's avatar

Would you give the nod to pull the plug on a parent's ventilator?

Asked by njnyjobs (7577points) February 12th, 2010

A terminally ill parent living away from you has been in and out of intensive care and has been given not too much longer to live. In a quick turn of events, things went downhill and patient is now determined to be clinically dead and only breathing with the help of life support.

While making travel plans, would you rather let the patient rest in peace now or keep life support in place to see the patient breathing until the dying moment?

BTW, the patient has no known legal Living Will.

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20 Answers

ChaosCross's avatar

I would not pull the plug, it is not my place to choose weather they live or die regardless if they are in pain or not.

Steve_A's avatar

Pull the plug, I would want them to do it for me as so I would do it for them….

This is just me so I speak only for myself here.

susanc's avatar

Do you mean, ... Well, actually, you have no authority to request a plug-pulling in this scenario. So it’s unanswerable.

EmpressPixie's avatar

I’d wait until I was there to pull the plug. I’d want to be with them at the end. At that point, the parent is dead—it doesn’t make a difference to them, really, but it makes a difference to me.

@susanc I think it is fair to assume that you are the next of kin and legally able to make this decision in this scenario.

Spinel's avatar

I wouldn’t have the heart to order my own parent’s final death (how could I, after they gave me life?). Rather, since in your described scenario the parent is near complete death anyway, I would wait for his/her last hour to come naturally.

njnyjobs's avatar

Additional detail: the patient is now only being kept alive by drugs to keep the heart pumping and by a ventilator to keep the lungs breathing, but no brain activity and body has cooled down. Team of doctors have given their opinion that nothing else can be done to turn the situation around. 36 hours is the soonest time you can get to the patient.

njnyjobs's avatar

@susanc let’s say it’s your vote that the doctors are waiting on . . .

@Spinel… life support equipment and drugs is not natural, should they be taken off and see what happens?

Sarcasm's avatar

@ChaosCrossI would not pull the plug, it is not my place to choose weather they live or die regardless if they are in pain or not.
This statement kind of negates itself.
If it was not your place to choose whether they live or die, you shouldn’t put them on a ventilator in the first place.
So, by that thinking, you should do nothing but pull the plug.

njnyjobs's avatar

@Sarcasm…just to be clear, the medical establishment were the ones who put he patient on life-support as part of the care, but it has come to a point where it seems to be futile already, though the medical establishment cannot deny the life-support without the nod at this point in time.

Judi's avatar

Was there ever any conversation at all with the parent about their wishes?
I would probably wait, so I could say goodbye, and hold her hand. I would not want her to die alone.
it is time for me to plan a trip to visit my 84 year old mom now.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I would definitely want to see them one last time, but yes, ultimately I think I would “pull the plug”. With the conditions your saying, that’s not living anymore, at all.

I know I certainly wouldn’t want to be kept “alive” in those conditions, all id really be doing is raking up hospital bills for my loved ones.

casheroo's avatar

I would wait until I could get there. I would want to at least hold their hand. Yes, it’s more for me than them, since they are already gone…but I would need that closure and if it’s only 36 hours, that’s not an extended period of time.

njnyjobs's avatar

@Judi at one point, patient was asked if patient wanted to be visited by kids who are far away, and noded against it, probably not wanting to be seen with needles and tubes sticking out of the body, and in a very frail state.

While watching Temple Grandin story last week, Temple asked her mom where does the dead go. . . she exclaimed, at one point person is here and the next time they’re gone… Her mom answered with the traditional religious/spiritual concept. But Temple being different (but not less) who learned in pictures, was introduced with the notion that people who die remain in your mind the way you picture them to be. If you often see them in their happy state, they will remain with you in your mind as a happy person.

tinyfaery's avatar

I can’t imagine not having seen my mother before she died, but she knew I was there for a few hours, at least.

But in your scenario, I wouldn’t prolong the inevitable.

Berserker's avatar

Well, for my own dad, I know for a fact he’d want the plug pulled in that situation. So initially I say yes, I’d do it. On the other hand, if the scenario actually presented itself, I have no idea how I would feel at the given time.
But since my dad’s dead already, guess I don’t gotta worry bout this. >_>

augustlan's avatar

Is this a hypothetical, or something your family is faced with? If it’s the latter, my condolences.

I would probably like to be with the parent at the end, and keep the life support going until I could get there. Once there, I would have the support removed.

Sarcasm's avatar

I managed to post a reply but forgot to post my own personal opinion.

Would you give the nod to pull the plug on a parent’s ventilator?
Yes. If the parent has nil chance of returning from their vegitative state, to me, they’re already dead. Forcing their lungs to continue inflating and deflating just seems unnecessary.

would you rather let the patient rest in peace now or keep life support in place to see the patient breathing until the dying moment?
I’d rather have them rest in peace sooner.
I say this as a relatively emotionless person, I don’t think I could handle seeing one of my parents braindead and only able to continue pumping thanks to machines. That would break my heart.
I would much rather have my last image of them be a slightly more positive one.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I know my dad especially would rather I pulled the plug and so for him I most definately would. I’m not sure how my mum feels about this but I imagine she feels the same as my dad and would rather the plug was pulled. I agree with @Steve_A that I know I would want someone to pull the plug on me if I was ever in this state. Having said that, providing they weren’t in any pain (which, seeing as they are pretty much already dead, I am assuming they wouldn’t be) I would want to be there with them when the plug is pulled.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I did that with my dad this past October.I am positive that he would have wanted that.He would have done the same for me.

Silhouette's avatar

I would be there and I would pull said plug.

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