March 25, 2005
A Nurses Insight into Terri's Suffering - updatedTopics: Medical Issues
Several days ago one of our readers wrote the following message related to her experience caring for those classifed as PVS:
I am an RN. Several years ago, I was wrongfully fired for refusing to remove a feeding tube from 2 patients who had been diagnosed as PVS like Terri. Neither patient was really PVS and no appropriate testing was done to make that determination. I witnessed how one of the patients died. It was horrible! We won a lawsuit and then the state supreme court overturned the jury verdict that had been in our favor. I don't care what the motivations of the husband or parents are in this case. Starving and dehydrating people to death is wrong! It was determined to be cruel and unusual punishment as a mode of execution in capital cases. It is murder! If you have to starve & dehydrate a person to get them to die, then you'd better ask yourself the following question: Exactly how terminal is this person?! The answer is: They aren't terminal!
Momements ago we received another message that provides insight into what Terri may be experiencing right now:
Terri is suffering physical pain from being denied food and at this point she has used up any fat stores in her body and her body is beginning to break down muscle. Her mouth and other mucosal linings are dry and cracking. Her skin may be breaking down in pressure sores because it is dehydrated. She may very well be spiking a high fever from the dehydration. If they are trying to offer her oral fluids (which facilities sometimes do because they're not really comfortable with the reality of what they are doing), these fluids may be aspirated back into her lungs due to her compromised swallowing reflex, causing a virulent form of pneumonia called aspiration pneumonia. This, in turn, will cause her lungs to fill up with infection and she will be unable to breathe. She may be diaphoretic (covered with sweat) due to fever which is further dehydrating her. Her organs are being profoundly damaged and are starting to fail including her kidneys, heart, circulatory and central nervous systems She may be hallucinating and experiencing a vague sense of dread which is part of the dehydration. When her kidneys fail, they are no longer able to remove poisons from the body and these poisons build up. Her heart begins to fail causing a back-up of fluids into her lungs called pulmonary edema and all of these induced conditions finally overwhelm her and she loses consciousness and dies. But it often takes 2-3 weeks for this to take place.During this dark time, our collective thoughts and prayers are with you, Terri.
Posted by tim at March 25, 2005 1:22 PM
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