Question

Dear Dr. Feinberg, It seems we've been able to overcome so many difficult obstacles this past year, but now he is hospitalized with pancreatitis, some ascites, and jaundice. The pancreas is the main focus of their attention. He was on TPN for 5 months and has been taking meds for several years. He is NPO and so far the bilirubin has not come down. Morphine is controlling the pain well. What lies ahead? What can I do? Thank you.

Answer

It's hard to say what lies ahead. There is no specific cure for pancreatitis-- it is treated by putting the gut to rest (no food) and with medications to control pain. It is possible to recover completely from pancreatitis, but it is also possible to develop complications and do poorly. Unfortunately, there is no reliable way to predict who will do well and who will not. I've got my fingers crossed for you.