Interview 35- Intensive care' experiences of family & friends

Age at interview: 37
Brief Outline: Her mother was admitted to ICU because of gallstones and other complications. She visited her every day, often with her two young daughters, and kept a diary.
Background: Administrator, married with two daughters. Ethnic background/nationality' White British.

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She was asked to consent to her mother having a risky operation. She did not like having to do...

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She was asked to consent to her mother having a risky operation. She did not like having to do...


 When I got there [ICU] I was called into the relatives' room by a doctor who explained pancreatitis to me in detail. And she told me that Mum was very, very ill and there was still a very high chance that she was going to die. Which really was a shock because I had seen her getting, what I thought better, and then to suddenly be told that again. 

Went back into the ICU to see Mum and a consultant wanted to speak to me and he took me into the office there. He explained that they thought that the enzymes from her pancreas had leaked into the cavity in her stomach and that they were destroying her stomach lining. They couldn't get to the affected area last week to operate but they were now going to try and remove the affected tissue. And if they couldn't remove it, then Mum would die. It would kill her. Then they asked me for consent for tracheotomy which they explained, this was a high risk procedure, that she could actually die from doing this procedure. But because I had seen how uncomfortable she was with the oxygen tube going down her throat, I knew that I had to take that risk, it was to make my Mum more comfortable. You know, even if it was a risk of losing her. So I gave permission. And that was really difficult knowing that you are giving permission for something that could effectively kill her really. When I got home I was really, really upset and phoned my husband and he came home from work. 
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