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End-of-life sedation

16 Jul 2017 20:13

My brother passed away recently at 19 years old from cancer after 8 months from diagnosis. The doctors told him there was nothing more they could do for him after completing his chemo and radiation treatments which initially showed positive results, although it had spread to the lymph nodes around his lungs.


My question is about his end-of-life care. He was given drugs in a syringe driver and breakthrough injections of morphine to give him relief from the discomfort of breathing. My family and I were under the impression that this would sedate him, however, over the 3 days being 'sedated' he 'woke up' numerous times trying to get out of bed and talk which was frightning for all of us. My question is... is this normal? And when he woke up was he really alert and conscious?


Thanks for answering

Re: End-of-life sedation

17 Jul 2017 01:41 in response to Shiroma


Hi Shiroma,

My sincere condolences on the loss of your brother - so young at only 19.. I am afraid that most of us on this site are not medically trained, but cancer pilgrims.

I trust that the nurses here will be able to answer your questions.

Kind regads,

Jolamine xx

Re: End-of-life sedation

18 Jul 2017 14:29 in response to Shiroma

Hi Shiroma

Thank you for posting on the forum and I am sorry to read about your brother. This must be a very difficult time for you and your family.

Younger people absorb and process medication differently to those who are older. This will account for the ups and downs in your brother’s behaviour and sudden bursts of energy. Other things that may play a factor in behaviour is the stimulants within the environment, so this could be sudden sounds and noises and people they recognise.

Because I was not involved in your brother’s care it is difficult for me to be specific about the events leading up to his death. But the palliative care team would have tried to keep a fine balance of what he wanted, aiming to keep him comfortable and controlling his symptoms.

Some people who are left with unanswered questions may benefit from speaking to the team involved in their care. If you wish you and your family may consider doing this.

I hope this has been of use. If you would like to talk this through further with one of the nurses here please give us a call on 0808 800 4040. We are here from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Best wishes,