Sunday, 18 December 2011 17:53

A fundamental question - Is the treatment giving a better quality of life?

Written by  Kamal Shah
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I had written about dialysing our elderly here a few days back. I reflected on that deeply a few days back while discussing the treatment options of a patient with her son along with a nephrologist. The lady was 70+ years old. Her son was as committed as ever. I could tell that the option for withdrawing treatment had not once crossed his mind.

The nephrologist made a very important point. The question she asked was, "Is the treatment doing anything to improve her quality of life or is it merely prolonging her suffering?"

It was easy to see that the dialysis session was nothing short of torture for the patient. Within a few minutes of starting, she would ask for it be closed. She was also not totally aware of what was happening around her. For her, it was a strange surrounding even though she had been there a few times. In her mind she was probably wondering why she had been brought there.

The family was considering PD as one of the options to make it easy on her. The nephrologist did not feel it would benefit her.

The nephrologist asked the family to consider this question and answer honestly if they really thought the treatment was benefitting her.

Once the conversation wound up, the son went over to her mother and gently stroked her head asking her if she wanted to eat anything. He could hardly hold back his emotions. Neither could any of us.


Kamal Shah

Kamal Shah

Hello, I'm Kamal from Hyderabad, India. I have been on dialysis for the last 13 years, six of them on PD, the rest on hemo. I have been on daily nocturnal home hemodialysis for the last four and half years. I can do pretty much everything myself. I love to travel and do short weekend trips or longer trips to places which have dialysis centers. Goa in India is a personal favorite. It is a great holiday destination and has two very good dialysis centers.

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