I am POA for my father, an elderly frail man with dementia. He has short term memory problems but tells me he still enjoys his life and when I ask, he does not want me to change his code status to DNR. This is consistent with his wishes for full treatment earlier in life, when he fully understood what it would mean to be on a ventilator or being resuscitated.
While I would not want to be a full code in his circumstance, I am following his wishes and trying to advocate for what he wants. Tonight when he was admitted to the hospital for a urinary tract infection, his doctor not only inquired about his code status (which is fine, it is part of her job) but then tried to pressure me to change it, and to justify why he should be a full code. I don't mind explaining once, but I feel she went beyond clarifying and proceeded to badger me and disrespect me for not caving in to changing him to DNR. It turned into an adversarial and hostile conversation that I really did not need, and it happened at my father's bedside. To say she crossed a line is an understatement.
I have been an RN for over 30 years and know full well what a code entails. This is not the issue. I feel my role is to advocate for my father, and to respect his wishes and what he would want, when he designated me his POA. If he were in a coma, or had terminal cancer, or could not enjoy his life any longer I know it would be reasonable to make him a DNR. At this time, those conditions are not present - I feel completely disrespected the way that doctor spoke to me and I don't think I should have to justify my father's and my family's wishes in regard to his treatment.
Has anyone else here felt pressured to make their family member a DNR? She went so far as to say we were doing what we wanted to do, not him.
Sorry for going on so long but I am livid. What gives her the right to impose her value judgements on my father's life?
I hate to say it but in these situations, it becomes a he said/she said scenario, so perhaps your father's physician didn't mean to push as much as she did. However, given what you've written, I'd have to side with you. While I like to think that I treat everyone equally, I must admit that I do take into account education, profession, experience, etc when I'm trying to explain things. With that said, I should not impose my values, judgements, religion, etc upon my patients. They should never feel that I pushed something upon them, only that I tried to explain something in a manner in which they could understand without being condescending. In speaking with a fellow healthcare provider, I would hope that we could have a higher level of discussion (not insult intended to non-healthcare professionals) since we speak a common language and presumably have similar experiences upon which to draw. I'm sorry you and your dad had to go through this experience. I'm hopeful that your future encounters will be more beneficial and uplifting. Good luck!
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