How low can your o2 drop before you are dead? my Father-in-law is in the hospital dying and I was just wondering. his are staying in the 70's. they said his lung muscles aren't working anymore. he is DNR and has stated no mask to be used either.
In this circumstance, of a person who is dying, one cannot live very long with an oxygen saturation of 50% or below. The actual level that will lead to death, for a given individual, depends on how rapidly the saturation has fallen. If the drop occurs over a long period of time, weeks to months to years, the body can adjust and tolerate progressively lower oxygen levels whereas, a sudden drop from 96% into the 60 to 70% range may result in death.
When a person is terminal with a low/falling oxygen level the most important issue is to keep that person comfortable and relieve any feeling of suffocation or gasping for air. This is usually accomplished with the use of a narcotic and, if he is in constant respiratory distress, the humane thing to do is to attempt to relieve it.
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