The U.S. Medical System Sucks
Mom is 97. She has heart issues and has had mini-strokes. She’s now experiencing brief blackouts where she falls and is incoherent and loses cognitive awareness for several seconds. Her heart doctor and her regular doctor have reached the end of any treatment so it is what it is.
A couple days ago she had one her blackouts and the fire department came and assessed her and dismissed the ambulance. They asked if she had a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) now called a POLST (Physician Orders For Life Sustaining Treatment).
I thought she was covered for that since her Advanced Directive states that, as her medical agent with power of attorney, I make the decision regarding CPR. Yes this covers that but emergency medical personnel now want this bright pink piece of paper on the fridge so they know immediately what to do or not do, even though I would be standing right there telling them.
So I called her doctor, told them I had power of attorney, and I wanted to get this form signed and in place. I told them it was very difficult to get my mom into the office.
What was most ridiculous was that they insisted that mom had to come in. So I had to get my mom showered, dressed and to her doctor so that he could sign this paper and ask her questions like “what year is it?” (she replied 1996) and “who’s the president?” (no clue).
The appointment was at 4:45 pm, the worst time of day for her, and we did not get out of that office until 6 pm, waiting to see the doctor so he, as now her self-appointed medical agent, could sign that lousy piece of paper.
And then of course he prescribed some vitamin B 12 “for her memory” because I’m sure that’s an additional Medicare charge under medications. Since when did a legal document, made with an attorney, get usurped by the medical system?
I went to all these efforts only because, in the last days of my mom’s life, the last thing I want her to experience is being held hostage in a hospital, until her last breath.
Do the same for your loved one.