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Radioactive Isotope

Monthly Debate #6

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Radioactive Isotope

In clinc a few weeks ago, we had a patient come down to the department for a bone scan to check for cellulitis in one of his toes. Normally, no big deal. But the poor guy had just had a stroke so he couldn't communicate at all, and he couldn't help us with the exam. So we had to transfer him from his ICU stretcher (those things were not designed to go through doorways -_-) and use all kinds of tape and straps to keep him positioned for the 20ish minutes it takes for the scan. Transfering people from bed to table and back is always rough, even with six people helping. Patients get jossled and banged up and it's really no one's fault, it's just the way it is. No doubt he was uncomfortable from being transferred and strapped down, but we wouldn't have known either way since he had the capacity of an infant and couldn't tell us. The real biggie, though was that bright, shiny DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) sticker on his file. If he for some reason had coded on us, there would have been nothing we could do.

So what I'm wondering (and I'm making some assumptions here) is why his family/insurance provider is agreeing to these expensive tests when the guy's probably not going to be around much longer. Granted if it were my dad/grandpa, I wouldn't want to give up, but there comes a point where I'd rather he go on and pass rather than have him laying in a hospital bed and not even know who I am. And then my family would be stuck paying off his huge medical bill.

To make a long story short, my question is this: should patients who are terminally ill and have no chance of recovery still get expensive tests and procedures even when nothing can be done?

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Mara

When my grandpa was in the hospital last year before he passed away, he was, for the most part, just "kept comfortable." I mean, he had an oxygen mask and an IV but that was all.

As far as I know, no other big things were done for him.

But he was still partially aware.

As for the other situation, if there is no chance of recovery, what doctors would even authorize tests they feel wouldn't do any good? I mean, I know some families push and push to save their loved ones, but like you said, there is a time when others, doctors included, just have to say no and let the person be comfortable until they pass.

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Princess

For some people though, they still want full treatment if they have chance for recovery and treatment, but if they code, they want to go.

I've got an 82 year old grandmother who is healthy, however, the whole family knows that if she ever has a stroke or anything like that, she does not want to be put on life support, when it's her time, it's her time. So I'm not really sure

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GI_Admiral

It's up to the family

Sadly most people are not logical during such times and they feel it later (Bills to pay).

That's why you as a 3rd party (Not knowing the man or his situation) could see that it was probably a futile test and a very long shot, but the family felt that it could be their last hope at seeing him healthy no matter how bad the odds are (and last time I checked NASA has not found Corellia yet).

I guess as an answer to your question, the logical answer should be no. They shouldn't waste their families money and time, nor the medical facilities time and energy. However, we all know that laws aren't made on fully logical decisions, so it will always be in the hands of the families. I'm also sure the medical facilities aren't complaining too much as they're getting paid pretty well...

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Radioactive Isotope

maybe if the doctor's would say "THIS WILL NOT DO ANY GOOD," fewer of these tests would be done. but then the docs would get paid less, so i doubt they'll do that.

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