My Mother went into hospital two week ago for a skin condition. From there we found out her kidneys and liver weren’t functioning properly. One week into her stay she development a chest infection and then gave her a nebuliser/oxygen. After one day on the nebuliser they said if her condition deteriorates they will sedate and put her on a ventilation. Following on from this they said she had damaged her kidneys and would need dialysis. The following day she had blood in her stools so they had to do a blood transfusion and give her medication which thankfully stopped the bleed. I went to see her last Thursday, day 8 of her hospital stay and she was able to talk to me and was drinking an ensure. Her breathing wasn’t the best but we still had a conversation I helped her to lie on the bed as her legs were swollen. Day 9 we receive a call to say mum had had a bad night and that she wasn’t going to make it. We got there and mum was lay on the bed either semi conscious or sleeping. This continued fur a few hours then she woke up and I asked her if she wanted water, she said yes. I asked her if she wanted a cup if tea she said yes and also she wanted food. She had a few sips of tea and water and a few mouthfuls of yoghurt and I was asking her questions to which she responded yes or no. Her eyes were fully open and she was responsive. Her BP was normal and oxygen 92. Her urine output was good.I asked the doctors if they could try her on antibiotics again to see if they would clear up the infection and they agreed. Fast forward 5 hours and she passed away. How can this be. She was alert and even strung a sentence together with my sister after I had left. i just don’t get it. How can she be end of life and then be alert . I just don’t get it.
Hi Nicola, sorry to hear of your sudden loss. I have only the medical knowledge that I’ve picked up through life, not through training, but I do know that once organs start shutting down the end can come very quickly, especially organs like the kidneys and liver. I think with those two failing your Mum was lucky to not be in great pain.
I’ll come back and write some more, but I have to go and put my wife to bed now.
Edit:OK, back again. Many of your Mums symptoms were diagnostic for Kidney and Liver failure, the prognosis from the later stages of Kidney failure are days left at the least, and weeks at the most: Liver failure is painful in over 80% of cases. Without knowing when the problem started it’s difficult to know how advanced it was, although there are skin conditions (the original reason for the admission) that can be caused by Liver failure.
If you’re not able to accept the outcome of your Mum’s treatment, you should t discuss it with the Doctors involved and/or the Pals.Dept at the hospital.
I’m just very confused. I am thinking now that the doctors agreed to give further antibiotics to make me feel better. I don’t know. Is it normal for people who are about to pass away to become alert and normal again? Maybe i should speak to Pals as I’m not going to get any closure.
One to two days prior to death, patients may have a surge of energy. They may be able to physically do things they were previously incapable of doing and may become mentally alert and verbal when they were previously disoriented and withdrawn. Dying patients may also have a sudden surge in appetite.
Hope this helps you to come to terms with losing your loved one
Try to be kind to yourself and take one day at a time.
I think with the antibiotics that that is quite possible. It’s also possible that they didn’t know what to do.
(This happened with my wife, she already had MS: she then got Shingles, both of these are nerve based problems and the Shingles had a massive effect on her mobility, she went from being able to walk a couple miles with just the aid of a pair of sticks, to not being able to get out of a chair unaided, virtually overnight. She will often repeat that a couple of Doctors did say to her at the time " We just don’t know what to do with you" She never really walked properly after that, just staggering around with a frame, and then after a fall during the night at home her legs stopped working altogether).
A little bit of google research suggests that it is by no means uncommon for someone close to death to actually rally a little before the event, although usually over a slightly more protracted time frame than how it was with your Mum.
My Ist paragraph is from Google as Ajay has wisely suggested. Apologies I should have explained.
Many years ago I lost my Dad. He rallied for a short time before he died. Nurses explained to my Mother its not uncommon.
What a terrible shock for you all especially as it was all so quick. Merciful for your Mum, but so hard for all of you.
It does sound like she rallied before passing - Mums don’t like to worry their children - this might have been why she rallied when you were both there.
I think you should speak to PALS/ the doctor to help you make sense of this.
You might find support from Cruse helpful too https://www.cruse.org.uk/ they prioritise those dealing with an unexpected/ sudden death.
Thank you for everyone’s replies. Yes i am in a lot of shock and did not expect such a sudden death. Looking back all of the signs were there for her failing kidneys. Pale face, rash on skin, swollen legs, breathlessness and a few others. She’d been to the doctors on numerous occasions and kept being sent home with cream for a rash. I keep asking myself, why didn’t they ventilate like they said they would. Why didn’t they start dialysis like they said they would. Why didn’t they do the endoscopy to see where the bleed was coming from like they said they would. Why didn’t they take my Mum down to ICU like they said they would.
I guess i don’t have much faith in the NHS at the minute. My niece passed away unnecessarily in January and there is an ongoing investigation into negligence that we didn’t instigate. My father had a stroke in February and the hospital sent him home with a chest infection and it wasn’t until 5 months later when the doctor intervened and looked at his hospital admission records that he noticed he’d had a stroke.
My apparently fit husband died in his sleep when he was just 58. I just couldn’t believe it,and used solicitors to investigate.
It turned out that he had been a “dead man walking” for a long time. That was 15 years ago. I understand how shocked you were, but mum’s future was full of pain, illness, being unable to do the things she loved doing.
We are now just glad that my husband had 58 really good years, and was saved any suffering. He would have hated being an invalid. I’ve seen friends die of cancer. Awful.
Allow yourself time to grieve today, concentrate on giving mum a really good send off. You can ask the doctors questions later.