-the redhead- (theredhead) wrote,
-the redhead-

A new medical ethics question for me

It was wonderful to see my Mom for a little while last weekend. It's been a really long time, and after all of her latest heart problems and procedures it was important to see that she was okay in person. Intelletually I knew she was doing very well and had recieved the best of care, but sometimes it's important to see things in person, to touch them, to really *know* that things are okay.

She brought up an interesting point which needs to be addressed - now that she has the pacemaker (which has addressed her heart problems wonderfully, lessened the burden of worry considerably, and enabled her to get back to the things she likes to do) she's in the position of not being able to have her heart stop normally. She's worried that the device won't let her die. In effect, she's already 'on machines' to an extent. What to do about this when it *is* time for her to pass?

My initial mental response was 'ohpleaseIdon'twanttotalkaboutthisrightnow', but my response to her was she would have to update her living will and commit whatever she wanted to paper. She also needs to do a bit of research into how having a pacemaker affects a DNR order. I also suggested that she speak with other people about this and try to get a feel for the whole of the situation.

I, however, still bear some responsibility in this situation. So how do I redefine the 'I will not let them put you on machines' promise in light of the pacemaker, which will do it's electronic damndest to keep her heart beating? What will I have to do, short of having the thing removed' to ensure she can die a peaceful death when the time comes?

-the redhead-
Tags: musings
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