Kerry was an MVA (motor vehicle accident)
victim in her late twenties and had been at
WeCare for a couple of years. Her pick-up truck
had collided with a telephone pole, she wasnt
wearing a seatbelt, and now she was permanently
and severely brain damaged. Keeping her alive
was a tracheostomy attached to oxygen, and she
was a "Tube Feeder" (feeding tube only). Her non-
focused eyes constantly rolled around, she rarely
slept, and could no longer move, speak, or swallow.
To prevent seizures from her massive head injury,
nurses pumped in round-the-clock anti-seizure
medications through Kerrys peg. (Medications
are liquefied and infused through the stomach
tube for people unable to swallow).
Even though her immobile body was frequently turned and repositioned, Kerry suffered from rotting stage IV Decubes. The young girl was a Full Code and had stopped breathing on two occasions. Jan, an evening shift RN, proudly told me that she was the one who had performed CPR twice and brought the girl back. But I was disgusted, not impressed. Kerrys teeth resembled caramels, her eyebrows grew haphazardly, she had visible hair on her chin and legs, and her long mane was out of control. An adult-sized diaper contained her spontaneous urine and feces. Even though her mind was gone and the only ones aware of her unkempt appearance were others, I couldnt believe shed want to live like this. The helpless girl would live another two years and stop breathing three more times. The last time Kerry was resuscitated, shed ended up in ICU dying shortly afterwards of violent, uncontrollable seizures and exsanguinations, (spontaneously bleeding out of orifices) at the same time enduring chest-pounding CPR. Anti-seizure medications only work for so long. According to nurses caring for her, Kerrys final moments of life were brutal and agonizing.
Its understandable why families dont want to make a young person a DNR. But if people saw what went on behind the scenes of hopelessly afflicted loved ones, they might change their minds. We show more compassion for stricken pets than we do our own family. Kerrys inevitable fate wa
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