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pnaseudomonas colinazation in the lungs
Jan 27, 2011

My husband has been very sick for the last month or so. He started on different antibiotics starting in Sept. for infection in the lungs wheezing crackling and pneumonia. He has copd, frequent pneumonia (pnomanitis) this history has been going on for 4 yrs.He has had to go on 100% disability. His life has been severely impaired in the last yr. He was hospitalized with bad case of pneumonia in May also. He never really recovers from one before he has another one; he has been diagnosed with colonization of Pseudomonas in his lungs. Usually starts in the bottom of the right lobe. In four weeks they have gone in and cleaned his lungs out twice. He is always on prednisone from 20 to 60 mg a day. He has been on a vest to stimulate coughing but had to stop due to lungs bleeding. Been on Ivs, steroids inhalers that work & does fine until he comes off iv then put back on ciparo then before he is finished the round we start over again. The infection has impaired his judgment he is on oxygen at all times and He has a large stomach and chest he turns red and his extremities turn purple sometimes he is ashened color at times. He falls a lot due to weakness. ( he has implants in both knees)The Dr. says he is too sick to take out part of the lung. What kind of life does he have to look forward to? How long can this last it is so hard to watch him suffer. Also if he goes on a machine to help him breath what is the chance of coming off and breathing on his own again? Is there any quality of life left for him or is this just the road we will travel until the Lord takes him home? I need answers so I know how to proceed and what I should let Drs do and not do he has a advance directive and he has appointed me to make med decisions for him and to carry out his wishes but I was told if one person has a problem with his wishes that the hosp would put him on a venalator is that true with a medical power of attorney. Thank you so much for your advice Look forward to hearing from you real soon. Sincerely, Margie

Response from Dr. Young

Hello Margie and thanks for your post.

I'm sorry to hear about your husbands health situation and unfortunately, it's difficult to provide detailed advice with the limitations of not having all the clinical information or examination.

It does indeed seem that he has serious chronic lung disease of one sort or another, in such cases mechanical ventilation can be required. As you accurately point out in some cases this intervention may not result in the long-term improvement desired and could prolong pain and suffering-- the specifics are important here and a discussion with your doctors about the likelihood of your husband's health returning to normal would be helpful.

Advance directive discussions about quality of life, goals of treatment and what kind of medical interventions that your husband would desire can be difficult to initiate, but in my opinion are among the most caring actions that families can do to support persons who are seriously ill.

Most hospitals have a team of people (doctor, nurse, chaplain, administrator) to help families with these decisions- I'd suggest having a discussion with the hospital staff if a meeting with their group can be arranged.

I hope this helps and wish you and your husband well.

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