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             30 October, 2020
 

    
Category:  Articles » Legal » Living-Will

 

The Hospital Left Me to Die - Don't Let It Happen to You

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         Views: 1661
2007-02-20 07:23:48     
Article by David Dottl


The following is a true story. It is not written to entertain you, but to warn you of a danger most people don't know exists, and to tell you how to protect yourself.

In the Spring of 2005 I was admitted to the hospital for an extensive and dangerous surgical procedure. I had previously been diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of bladder cancer. The doctors suggested I have my bladder removed to minimize the possibility of the cancer spreading, and after some thought I elected to take that approach.

There were times I wondered if I had made the right decision. During a previous procedure my heart had slowed down, and I had a history of not reacting well to anesthesia. Call it a gut feeling, or a premonition; I was sure something was going to go wrong, but also I knew I would somehow survive.

I tried to set my feelings aside, but they wouldn't go away. I've always made my own decisions, and taken responsibility for them. The thought of perhaps being unable to do this if something went wrong, worried me. It was the day before my surgery when I drafted the document which put my mind at ease. The next morning I gave copies to each of my children, and my wife, with instructions not to let anyone see them unless something went wrong. I didn't want the hospital to think I didn't trust their judgment; now I know it would have been wiser to give them the document right away. I'm fortunate I survived the delay in my treatment.

Things didn't go well that day. After surgery I had massive heart failure in the recovery room. My heart was a mess, and barely keeping me alive. I was in a coma that would eventually last for weeks. My family was told by the hospital there weren't any measures they could take to prevent my death; there was no chance of my survival! All of the cardiac doctors, and other medical professionals, were of the same opinion. God was calling me home, and it was only a matter of minutes, or a few hours, before I would die. I was terminal! All anyone could do was wait for my death. My premonition had come true.

I'm alive today because of the document I mentioned earlier, and my family's taking time to follow the requests I put in the document. The document I'm referring to is sometimes called a Living Will. I believe the name Medical Directive is more appropriate, as the contents are mostly directions.

My Medical Directive contained directions on how I wanted any problems that came up to be handled. The direction that saved my life is one not commonly found in Medical Directives. I requested a second opinion, but from a source not affiliated in any way with the hospital, if I should be declared terminal.

A cardiac surgeon from a very prestigious clinic agreed to come to the hospital, and examine me to verify my terminal status, and arrange to have me transferred to his location if I could be saved. An interesting and unexpected thing happened then. A cardiac surgeon, from the same hospital that declared me terminal, came forward and said he could repair my heart. Why he didn't work on me earlier is a question I don't have an answer to. Two things I'm sure of; I'm very much alive, and he is a very good surgeon to have brought a terminal person back to life.

Saving me was definitely a lot of work, but it might have been easier if I had received more prompt care. Before it was all over my kidneys had failed many times, my lungs collapsed, gallons of blood were pumped into me, fluid buildup made my features unrecognizable, a stroke paralyzed the right side of my body, I could not speak or move, and I was in a coma that would last for weeks. The specialists changed their prognosis and told my family I would live, but I would be a vegetable for the rest of my life. It turned out they were wrong again. Thanks to the support of my family, and the hard work and skill of the doctors and nurses who took care of me, I survived it all.

Before it was over I spent two months in the hospital, and another month in a nursing home for therapy. In a few more months I was back to normal and happy to be alive. Almost two years have passed since my surgery, and I'm in good health, and able to do anything I could do before I went to the hospital. In some respects I even feel better.

After reading how they saved me with the massive problems I had, don't you wonder how many people are left to die that could have been saved? Had the hospital stayed on their original course of just waiting for me to die, I wouldn't be writing this. There is no doubt my Medical Directive saved my life.

I'm at the point in this article where I could start bashing the doctors and hospitals. Do they deserve it? No question about it. Some do deserve it, most don't. Doctors are only human, and suffer the same failings as the rest of us. It's the system we've created that should be bashed, and the most tragic thing about this system is how we don't take responsibility for making our own decisions. It's not the doctor's job, or your family's job, or even your spouse's job, to make your health decisions. It's yours!

Take the time to sit down and write out your wishes in the event something happens. It doesn't have to be a formal document. What you include should be your own decision. I do recommend you include your desire for an outside second opinion if you're declared terminal. Sign it and give copies to your family, hospital, or trusted family doctor. Have it notarized if you like. My own directive included provision for how long to keep me on life support if I wasn't improving. Also, permission to use aggressive, or even experimental surgical techniques to save my life if conventional methods did not suffice, and when to stop and let me die.

One last note: Make a Directive now. Life is unpredictable. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. No one is too young, or too old, to find themselves in a position similar to what I was in, and no one should have to shoulder those responsibilities which are unquestionably our own.

If you do this you'll be giving your loved ones the greatest gift possible.

Normally I write fiction, and rarely do articles. I have written this article because I feel it is important to pass on what I learned from my experiences. I hope it saves someones life.

Specialized in: Short Story - Fiction - David J Dottl - Wierd - Read Free
URL: http://www.freewebs.com
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