There’s an article in the Star today about brain death and you may also read the post on MMR blog about it.
When I was holed up in the ICU last time, I learnt to detach my feelings and sort of see things from the humourous side. It can’t be help because once I see too many, here today, gone tomorrow cases, the weight of it can kill me (because I have problems of my own). Like a certain Punjabi man on ventilator who helplessly waved to me (asking for help) when I passed by his bed because he thought I was one of the hospital staffs. (We have to wear hospital gown to avoid infection, so you can be a Dr. Quack if no nurses are watching). Or a certain man with meningitis who had to be tied to his bed because he was hallucinating and thrashing.
So, I used to entertain myself with observing relatives of dying patients. With due respect to all the grieving parties, some of them were really pesky, obstinate, arrogant and of course, ill-informed. Many think that money can buy life. Most challenged the doctors.
Once, a cardiologist, practically threw his arms and told the nurses, “I am going home, the patient is dead, get the MO to certified the death. I have explained but they won’t listen. I AM GOING BACK NOW.” He was frustrated because the patient’s relatives demanded that he continue resuscitating the old lady eventhough he had explained to them that she had died. So, he left the ICU. I was in my son’s private glass room with another nurse. She told me, “Crazy one (the situation/relatives).” After the doctor left, the relatives kept bugging the nurses and to appease them, they applied one more whatchalit, the
A defibrillator is a medical device used in the defibrillation of the heart. It consists of a central unit and a set of two electrodes. The central unit provides a source of power and control. The two electrodes are placed directly on or in the patient. The device is designed to deliver an electric shock to the patient, in an effort to stop ventricular fibrillation.
So, poor old lady kena fried again. The heart monitor went teet-teet-teet and they insisted she was alive again. Urrgggh…Anyway, this is just one of the many instances I witnessed how reluctant people are to accept death.
My point is -It is hard to accept death. But sometimes, we must give the dignity to the deceased and not subject the body to too much medical intervention. Doctors, especially those who work in the ICU have a hard time breaking the news.
Why? Because most of our minds are all polluted with miracle stories that we had seen too much from soap operas, Hongkong TVB and Dr. House. In times of great grief, our mind deluded us, thinking that it is just another ‘patient died, patient lives again, live happily ever after again.’ So take this an an education, know in advance what actually takes place in a person before dying. Be the smart relatives. Don’t be the ignorant ones who fried dead bodies. Me? For sure I am going to tattoo DNR on my chest where the defibrillator spots are if I can.