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Old 02-24-2012, 12:31 PM
 
37 posts, read 99,429 times
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my mom went without for a period of time. she did die. but docs said after having her on repirator for 45 minutes she would be brain dead.

she did die after being on repirator for only 45 minutes.

they asked if we wanted to keep her on.. but said she was brain dead.. and said if we took her off - she would be a vegetable... should she have been kept on it longer ???

she was a young 83. did nt times crossword puzzles everyday..
got out..

should we have had tests conducted or waited a day to see for sure if brain was dead and if she would have been a vegetable. ???

perhaps her brain was still or could be viable still.

thank you

Last edited by Rainbow Connection; 02-24-2012 at 12:34 PM.. Reason: important facts
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:05 PM
 
2,496 posts, read 5,720,094 times
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So terribly sorry on the loss of your mother.

Oxygen is necessary for cell tissue to survive. Once oxygen is deprived, cells/tissue death starts to occur. The doctors were saying that after 45 minutes, enough brain tissue death would have occurred that your mother, while possibly able to be alive, would have no higher brain functions left.

No one knows 100% for sure if there could ever be recovery. It is certainly statistically unlikely, but - there have been rare cases of people with traumatic brain injury, where 20 years later - the person has some very limited recovery. But these cases are literally so rare as to be basically be impossibilities and thus considered miracles.

However, that may be more from injuries to the brain due to trauma (fall, blow to the head, gun shot, etc..) as opposed to comprehensive brain tissue death due to lack of oxygen.

What is important is that your mother had a good life. You loved her. Do not drive yourself crazy by second guessing. The doctors gave you the best information they had - which is that at that point and that level of oxygen deprivation - brain damage is irreversible. And your family made a decision based on that information.

I am again so terribly sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Arizona
1,035 posts, read 2,467,762 times
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I dealt with this topic within the last week in regards to my mother in law. She suffered a massive stroke and was without oxygen to the left side of her brain for an undetermined amount of time. The neurologist explained that whether it was 20 minutes or 12 hours, the damage was done. The MRI films of her brain were devastating. The left side was completely damaged and the remaining right side was going to be depended on to compensate for the loss of the left side. She lost her ability to speak and move her right side. We hoped she would recover, but was diagnosed with pneumonia and swelling in her brain and she passed on her own this week. We never had to put her on the respirator, but we would have chosen not to do that as requested in her will.

I'm sorry for your loss. Please don't question what has already happened, but if in doubt, you are entitled to her records.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:21 PM
 
396 posts, read 499,023 times
Reputation: 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbow Connection View Post
my mom went without for a period of time. she did die. but docs said after having her on repirator for 45 minutes she would be brain dead.

she did die after being on repirator for only 45 minutes.

they asked if we wanted to keep her on.. but said she was brain dead.. and said if we took her off - she would be a vegetable... should she have been kept on it longer ???

she was a young 83. did nt times crossword puzzles everyday..
got out..

should we have had tests conducted or waited a day to see for sure if brain was dead and if she would have been a vegetable. ???

perhaps her brain was still or could be viable still.

thank you
It's difficult to tell what you are saying. You say at the start of your post that your mother died after 45 minutes on the respirator. At the end of your post, you ask if her brain could still be viable. This does not make sense. Just the fact that she was on a respirator should mean that she had oxygen, and if she is off the respirator and died, her brain is unlikely to be viable now.

Depending on circumstances, brains can live for various lengths of time w/o oxygen. The assumed time to the start of brain cells dying is 5 minutes, though new research calls that into question. Under special conditions, human brains have survived an hour without oxygen. That's about the limit, though.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
16,472 posts, read 31,224,125 times
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I am really confused. Was she without oxygen for an unknown period of time and then put on the vent? Or something else?

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Old 02-24-2012, 03:06 PM
 
37 posts, read 99,429 times
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sorry for the confusion..

they put my mom on the respirator for 45 minutes..
asked us to make a decision whether to keep her on saying she would never breath on her own ever again... and be a vegetable..

or take her off the respirator and let her go..
we decided to let the docs take her off..

they took her off.. she breathed for abot 8-10 minutes then passed away...
( docs say she wasn't breathing... it was left over oxygen fron respirator)
she was only on the vent 45 minutes.. after talking to docs...
we decided to take her off...
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:29 PM
 
5,523 posts, read 4,460,666 times
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I join others in offering you my sympathy. It is so hard...we went through the exact situation with my mother.

But I was also a neuro-surgical ICU nurse, who worked with brain injuries daily and understood that when the brain dies, shows no sign of activity per testing of an EEG, there is literally nothing more that can be done. We did have families leave their brain-damaged patients on a respirator for months, unable to make the decision, hoping for improvement, but most of the time these were young people, kids...

You did the right thing, hard though it was...
allow yourself the needed grieving time.

It is an extremely difficult decision...
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:33 PM
 
1,781 posts, read 1,942,961 times
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So sorry about your mom.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
9,323 posts, read 7,269,587 times
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I think what was being asked - and I am wondering the same thing - is how long your mother was not breathing before being put on the respirator. That is the real question here, because once on the respirator (providing the heart is beating) the brain is getting oxygen. I think the doctor was proven correct by the fact that your mother was unable to survive without the respirator.

The common medical wisdom is that brain death occurs within 7 to 12 minutes after complete oxygen deprivation.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,023 posts, read 9,933,482 times
Reputation: 7399
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbow Connection View Post
they took her off.. she breathed for abot 8-10 minutes then passed away...
( docs say she wasn't breathing... it was left over oxygen fron respirator)
she was only on the vent 45 minutes.. after talking to docs...
we decided to take her off...
There's the answer to your title question right there.

Don't beat yourself up. You did the right thing. If I were your Mom and met you later in Heaven, I'd thank you for not leaving me in limbo.
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