Making A Bad Call

It took a while to get hold of Mom’s primary care physician. I left a message for him with his office receptionist hours ago. He called me back just now. The more I thought about how badly things had gone for Mom over the past two years with regard to poor decisions doctors had made, the more angry I became. While speaking with her doctor it took a great deal of effort on my part to conceal the anger in my voice. I had one simple question for him.

“Did you know my father stopped giving Mom her Alzheimers’ medication?”

“We discussed it together earlier this week. Your Dad didn’t see the point in it anymore since your mother’s Cancer has spread through her body. I considered her overall condition and agreed with him to stop giving her the drug.”

I could not believe what I was hearing.

“Isn’t it your job to do everything you can to help your patients stay as comfortable as possible? Let me tell you what happened to her when Dad took her meds away. She was in the living room at home and got up from her chair to walk into the kitchen. Mom lost her motor control without that medication and her legs gave out. She fell down and couldn’t get up on her own. Dad just stood there watching her struggle. He could have easily picked her up to help her back into a chair but didn’t. For some strange reason he left her there and went to call my Aunt for help. By the time she got to their place ten or fifteen minutes later Mom was still there on the floor, terrified and crying. If you were going to take her off that medication why didn’t you wait until after she was sedated at the nursing home? Wouldn’t that have been more appropriate? The way this was handled strikes me as entirely insensitive and cruel. Her last days awake and coherent were spent in total fear.”

The doctor didn’t say anything immediately. Then he somberly replied, “You’re right. I see where you are going with this. I made a bad call.”


~ by factorypeasant on January 3, 2007.

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