Do you have a Living Will and a Do Not Resuscitate Order in your files? My mother does. I just got back from visiting her in Fairbanks where I found that she has pneumonia. The facility called an amublance for her (she is immobile on her own power) and had them take her to the ER. She had been diagnosed with pneumonia and had taken the full prescription given her by her doctor. And yes I realize given isn't really the right word. At any rate. When she got to the ER they put in an IV for fluids but refused to "treat" the problem because they have a DNR on file. When she talked to her doctor about all this and signed the Living Will and he did the DNR she thought, as did I, that it meant that if she died they were not to try to bring her back but they absolutely refuse to treat her, other than bringing her fluids back up which was certainly not the intention of either of us.
She is currently back at the facility. Where they are giving her fluids, she is on oxygen, and they have her sitting up in a recliner. Not much else they can do at this point.
This is the second time this has happened. Unfortunately now that the DNR and Living Will are on file they won't let her change them and she is in no condition to force the issue, short of hiring an attorney, which we can't afford to do.
The way the Fairbanks hospital works if you are in their facility you have to use their doctors. They won't even attempt to reach her own doctor.
At this point the doctor wants her to come in to his office, which would necessitate calling an ambulance to take her there, which the lady in charge of the facility does not want to do. She had to leave town with another one of the "guests" who is currently in a coma in Anchorage and so is not on hand to deal with Mom's situation in person. They have an excellent staff but there is little anyone can do when everyone just keeps harping on the DNR order.
All of which is to say, if you have those things you may not want them in your files but in the hands of your family, friends or a caregiver who can put them in force when the need arises. I tried to talk to the hospital but I didn't get any more satisfaction than the folks from the Care Center did.
It is a sad fact of life that sometimes what you intend is not what you get. And the sadder thing is, I believe, it will only get worse under the proposed reform.
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