Re: Dementia Patient needing pacemaker

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From: Dallas
Posts: 262
I'm sorry to hear about what your dad is going through. It frustrates me that this isn't talked about more. It needs to be addressed. And, sometimes - maybe a lot - physicians do run roughshod over patients.

Therein lies the case for advance care planning.

Advance care planning hopes that physicians are speaking with their patients (and hopefully patients with their families) openly and honestly about their futures, preferences, values and ideals, especially as they age. Unfortunately, no one - not physicians, not patients, not families - wants to have these conversations, until there are few, if any, alternatives. Advance Care Planning tries to anticipate what is coming down the road and make sure that legal and familial preparations have been made.

In your case, I guess the issue boils down to capacity: Does he have the capacity to make decisions for himself? In this respect, you are in an incredibly difficult position. Only a physician can assess capacity, the ability to appreciate the burdens, benefits, treatment options available to your dad, and possible outcomes with any treatment. I'm sure you know all this. I'm just trying to lay out the landscape of the legal difficulties for anyone who isn't familiar with what you're saying. This has the nasty consequence that the physician who is going to be placing the device is also the one who determines whether he has capacity.

You mention that he does not have the capacity to see the long-term results. This is the core question: I suspect that if you can find some legal way to prove your assertion of his incompetence, you might have some legal options via a psychiatrist and a lawyer. Personally, I'd like to see some of these circumstances be addressed in a legal setting.

I wish that he finds peace and that those charged with helping him be at ease will do what is right.

You may find the following article of interest:

Posted on 2011/7/2 3:30

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