This blog post was first published at our sister site http://intensivecarehotline.com a support and resource website for Families of critically ill Patients in Intensive Care
Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from INTENSIVECAREHOTLINE.COM with another weekly update. In this week’s blog I want to show you
What you need to do if your loved one in Intensive Care is brain dead or is considered for organ donation
Now if you have tuned in for this week’s blog, I am sure that you are devastated by the news that you have been given by the Intensive Care team.
Maybe your loved one has been involved in a serious car accident or maybe your loved one has fallen off a roof. Maybe some other tragic situation has led to your loved one approaching their end of life in Intensive Care. Many situations can lead to terrible and tragic situations and you may feel horrible and empty and often words can’t describe on how you and your Family may feel and what you may be going through.
At least you are looking for help in your situation and that is something you should be proud of and you should be giving yourself a pat on the shoulder just by simply doing that. Congratulations for seeking help and advice!
There are no simple or black and white rules when your critically ill loved one and you and your Family are in a situation where you are confronted with terrible news such as that your critically ill loved one maybe brain dead or maybe in a situation where your loved one is surely approaching his or her end of life in Intensive Care and therefore may be a potential organ donor.
Now, the good news is that whatever situation you may face, you and your family are not obliged to agree to anything the Intensive Care team suggests to you. You may need more time to consider your options and you also may need more time to think your options through. You may also want to consider a second opinion before you start even thinking about making a decision going forward.
It’s a very confrontational and difficult situation that you and your Family are in, if your critically ill loved one is brain dead and/or has been considered for potential organ donation.
Not only have you just been confronted with your loved one’s admission to Intensive Care and you now also have to make a decision how to approach the topic of organ donation and you have to face your loved one’s end of life in Intensive Care.
As a starting point you shouldn’t rush to make a decision if you don’t feel like it. Many Families of critically ill Patients in Intensive Care just don’t feel like “harvesting organs” from their dying loved one is something that aligns with their core values and beliefs. On the other hand, other Families of critically ill Patients in Intensive Care feel like it is the right thing to do and it is something they feel comfortable with, often giving them a strong sense of purpose in light of those tragic circumstances when losing a loved one to critical illness in Intensive Care. It feels right for them to give back to other people in need and it feels like their dying loved one could leave a legacy and it may feel like their loved one’s death would make at least some kind of sense.
And just because some people feel like it’s the right thing to do others feel like it’s not. And it’s just that. It’s neither right or wrong, nor is it good or bad. It’s just what it is. It’s very much a value and belief based decision.
If you are unsure, get as much information as possible and also get and ask for as much time as possible as you need for making a decision.
What would your dying loved one want? Do you strongly feel that giving a heart, a lung, a kidney or a liver of your loved one to some other sick person in need does make sense and would fulfil a purpose?
Do you feel like “harvesting organs” of your loved one doesn’t feel like the right thing to do? Does it violate your beliefs and values? Again, you decide what’s right in your situation. Don’t let people “push” you in any direction that you don’t feel comfortable with.
Also, make sure that you can spend enough time with your critically ill loved one before he or she is going to die. After all, you, your Family and your critically ill loved one are in a unique and in a “once in a lifetime” situation and your main objective should be to have as much peace of mind as possible in your challenging and unique situation. You and your Family may want to consider to spend more quality time with your critically ill loved one before saying good bye.
And if you feel like this is important for you and for your Family then you should ask for it. Do whatever feels right for you and for your Family and don’t let other people’s agenda be in your way.
Sincerely, your Friend