My 90-year-old mother has advanced heart disease and went into the hospital with angina. Her heart rate was in the 30s and dipped into the 20s and the the teens. She told the nurse in the ICCU that she did not want a pacemaker and just wanted to have relief from the pain. The hospital has her advanced directives on file and she is designated as DNR. She made me promise that I would not let them put in a pacemaker. But, as the pain worsened and they wouldn't give her anything for it, the doctor and nurse told her that the pacemaker was the only way to make the pain go away. The doctor compared it to having an infected tooth pulled to alleviate the pain. She finally gave in and told me to sign the consent form. Before she went in she was living in her own apartment. Now, she has to be in a nursing home -- another thing she didn't want. Her heart stopped 4 times -- once before the pacemaker and 3 times in the cath lab.
Is there anything else I could have or should have done? I am feeling so guilty.
Thank you for reading this long explanation. I appreciate any advice as I may be in a similar situation again.
Why is it that she did not want a pacemaker? Young people as well as elderly get pacemakers. Sounds like she was confused as to having a pacemaker. She should be feeling better with the pacemaker now. With her heart rate so low, she must have felt very weak. She will most likely be feeling better now, so do not feel guilty.
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