POST 50
10/25/2012 02:01 pm ET

Hard Decisions in the I.C.U.

Your relative has spent five days in a hospital intensive care unit, unable to breathe without a ventilator and incapable of making her own medical decisions. Because she appointed you her health care proxy, or simply because you’re her closest relative, the choices about treatments -- trying them or stopping them -- fall to you.

It’s not a hypothetical situation: One-fourth of elderly people die in an I.C.U. A patient in intensive care on a ventilator probably requires a feeding tube, a catheter, various IV lines. Perhaps her doctors are suggesting dialysis or recommending surgery. There are many choices to be made.

Read more on The New York Times

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