MOMENTS: Anna's choice

December 2004 
Volume 34  Number 12
Pages 73 - 73
  PDF Version Available!

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 34(12)             December 2004             p 73 Anna's choice [MOMENTS]


“YOU'RE GETTING a patient from the cath lab,” the resident told me. “She had a massive heart attack, and there's nothing we can do for her. After we notify the family, we'll probably pull life support and let her go.”

Anna, 73, was wheeled into a room in my unit and connected to a ventilator. Her arms and legs were cold and mottled. She was receiving dopamine and norepinephrine and was attached to an intra-aortic balloon pump. I checked her pupils, which were dilated but reactive to light. When I spoke to her, she didn't respond.

Anna, a retired teacher, had never married. Her closest relatives were two brothers. In shock, they didn't know what to do and needed time to absorb the tragedy. ...

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