How Long Is A Person Allowed To Stay On Life Support (And Why)?

Exact Answer: There is no time limit

Medical science has come a long way since the primal age. Small cut to heart surgeries, everything can be done with help of medical science. Now with the improvement, people who have serious problems like heart disease, kidney failure, or brain paralysis can live longer with help of life support which was not possible previously.

Life support is given to those people who are on the verge of death. The capacity to endure life support differs from people to fall. There is no fixed time. People suffering from kidney failure stay alive with help of dialysis. Dialysis can go on for years as well as for only a week.

How Long Is A Person Allowed To Stay On Life Support?

Types of Conditions Time
Lung Problems> 1 year
Kidney Problem> 6 months
Heart Problem1 year – 15 years

Before giving any kind of life support, every doctor must give a rough estimate for how long it was going to continue with regards to the patient’s condition. If a patient is in a very serious condition, life support is the most common thing which is given to him/her. Ventilation is given as soon as the patient is brought to the hospital. The time factor in every case of life support differs from each other. A person who has a single kidney failure does not need much life support as a person who’s both kidneys are damaged.

People are staying in life support for a long time get accustomed to it. Many a time due to long-time life support, the doctor advises the patient to go home and arrange for home life support. In case of serious situations, the patient can be bought to the hospital. A few of the times, life support does not last that long, and people become healthy after just being put under ventilation.

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Thorough checkups and constant care are taken of the people who under life support. People with heart problems and lungs have to be very cautious as electronic devices are put inside their bodies so that they can function well. Few people abode well with these devices while others do not do well. So time is a variable factor in the case of life support.

Why Does A Person Is Allowed To Stay On Life Support That Long?

As mentioned earlier, the period under which a person is allowed to stay under life completely varies from person to person. People with complete kidney failure will never be able to any work without dialysis. Till the last day of his/her life, that person will have to bear with dialysis otherwise the body will stop function. Just as kidney failure, many people with heart problems have a pacemaker placed inside their heart to maintain their heart rate. Those people are advised to stay away from magnets.

A few countries allow the family members of the patient, who is under constant life support, to end the life of the person so that they do not suffer. There are a lot of examples around the world where people have overcome life support through practicing precautions and doctor advice. In case of stroke, the person is given life support for a limited period. A person in a coma is given permanent life support.

A person, who is in .coma, can come out of it in a week as well as he may never come out of it at all. People, who lost all senses and have no idea what’s going around are probably suffering from brain diseases. They do not feel anything, not even hunger. They are fed through tubes directly into their body. This method is called “Artificial Nutrition”. There are also other methods like Defibrillation, CPR, etc.

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Conclusion

Staying under life support can be very painful. Throughout their life, people live by their means, but due to some serious problems, they have to be over-cautious. It is a very difficult situation to end someone’s life but when a person is under constant life support and suffering, the doctor advises to stop the life support and end all the suffering. The decision depends on the family of the patient. Improvement of medical science is praiseworthy and so are the doctors.

References

  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa040325
  2. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199002013220506

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