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Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

2 Mar 2012 22:48

Hi All

My mum sadly passed away 10 weeks ago, a week before Christmas due to cancer of unknown primary with small bowel mets. Mum was dignonsed a week before she passed and it is all extremely hard to accept and to get my head round.

Mum was under hospital admission when she passed, however the day she died, the staff administrated a morphine syringe driver into the thigh. A macmillian nurse later visited mum and the driver was changed to also include anti-sickness drugs as well as the pain releif and then within about 4-5 hours mum had passed away.

Does anyone know if these syringe drivers are only used when someone is extremely sick and in final stages and likewise do you think they quicken things up or was it only used to make mum more comfortable and as pain free as possible?

It's a question that keeps going around in my head and anyone's advice and help would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks


Re: Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

3 Mar 2012 08:34 in response to Nicolac978


   sorry to hear about your mum. i lost my mum 9 months ago. drivers are used to help keep pain under control. they not just used when ppl are near the end. think it just depends what is put in the driver. mum had one in when she woz taken ill and then when things where under control it woz taken out. but in her last few days befor she passed away she had to have it back in and on the last day she had another one put in her leg because the drugs they where giving her could not be mixed in one driver.  hope this as helped a little

      love claire xxx

Re: Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

3 Mar 2012 08:52 in response to Nicolac978

Hi nicola,

So sorry to hear about your mum.

My friend is going through her chemo just now and has a driver put in just before each session so her anti-sickness drugs can be administered as she gets so poorly she needs a nurse to come in every few hours to give her injections.  So i get the impression the drivers save your wee body from getting too many injections as the drugs are put through the driver.  That way they can be given all the medication they need to keep them comfortable, pain free, and indeed as sick free as possible.  Maybe it was a blessing for you mum to have it in and not at all a contributing factor to her passing away.  So I hope that puts your mind at ease.

How are you doing?

Come back and keep us posted and I'm sure if you have any more questions we will try and answer them for you.

Take care sweetie

S x

Re: Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

4 Mar 2012 10:15 in response to claireabell

Hi Claire

Thank you for your reply and kind words and sorry also for the loss of your mum.

It has helped, going through the grief process is certainly a hard joinery and I find myself getting stuck with certain elements of what happened and not being able to move on until I have spoken to someone about it, so thank you.

Hope that you are ok today, take care.

Nicola x

Re: Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

4 Mar 2012 10:28 in response to Susan

Hi Susan

Thank you very much for your reply and kind words, which has been a comfort and sorry to hear about your friend.

The whole grief process is a hard journey and I find that I get myself stuck at certain elements or things that happened and cannot move on until I have spoken to someone about it and processed it it in my mind.

Mum was being sick a lot and on the day was finding it extremely hard to be sick as she was so poorly and I remember now that the hospital said they would try to make her as comfortable as possible without lots of injections here there and everywhere. Mum was not able to drink or swallow so yes you are right it was a method to make it more comfortable for mum and a way to give her the meds she needed without bothering her too much.

I am doing ok thanks, it will be 11 weeks tomorrow since mum passed and I still do not believe it if I am totally honest, but I am taking it a day at a time and going through the processes, letting myself feel whatI feel, but it is hard and the emotions I feel all battering against each other sometimes is a struggle. But this site is helping me, by chatting to people and reading other people posts is a help.

How are you? I hope that you are well and I am sure that we will chat again soon

Take care

Nicola x

Re: Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

4 Mar 2012 20:33 in response to Nicolac978

Syringe drivers are merely a way of administering drugs in a continuous and controlled way - they don't make the drugs work any differently than taking them orally or by other injection routes. People can be on them for months if that is the best way to receive drugs. There are a few reasons to use a syringe driver:

Problems in swallowing or tolerating drugs taken by mouth

To replace regular injections of drugs

To give a very consistent effect - eg for pain killers etc - drug level doesn't in the same way as seperate doses.

Hope that helps


Re: Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

4 Mar 2012 23:17 in response to Nicolac978

Hi Nicola,

Give yourself some time, as you say the whole grieving process is difficult to go through in one big chunk so break it down as you need to, if you are facing a lot of emotions and need to talk or rant or be angry or just need a place to vent then this is the place to be, there is usually someone around most of the day and night so you'll never be alone for long.

Come back and keep chatting to us, we will support you all we can I'm sure

Take care

S x

Re: Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

5 Mar 2012 21:12 in response to Luke

Hi Luke

Many thanks for your reply and it has helped. Mum was really weak and unable to swallow and was being sick so through people's answers on here and thinking it through I can see that it was put in place to help mum, I am just struggling with it all and certain elements get stuck in my mind and then I cannot move forward.

I looked at your user profile and I am so very sorry about your wife, this must be a very difficult time for you and your family.

All the best and take care


Re: Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

5 Mar 2012 21:15 in response to Susan

Hi Susan

Many thanks for your lovely words, is much appreciated.

Take care

Nicola x

Re: Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

5 Mar 2012 22:37 in response to Nicolac978

Glad to be of help - there are a few misunderstandings around about syringe drivers and also morphine and other drugs - it has to be some use being a pharmacist!

Thanks for your thoughts - we are all going through difficult times and have to make the best of them!


Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

12 Aug 2015 10:14 in response to Nicolac978

Hi Nicola

I have just come across the discussions about the syringe driver. My mum died in 2012 as well and I have always had issues with the driver. She had a brain tumour and took so very ill with the pain. She couldn't have taken painkillers by mouth. We were told at the time that this would be the end. As for you it was an awful time for me. I think it suddenly dawned on me that my mum was going for good. But there was no other way to go forward. She slept through most of it and I still spoke to her but don't really know if she heard me. Losing your mum is the worst thing ever I know. I hope you have moved on in your life. I take pleasure now in her memories and enjoying every moment my family and I are well. I also feel her presence very closely at times. It's as if she's on the other side of a thin curtain bit difficult to explain. Lots of love to you and yours



Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

12 Aug 2015 10:30 in response to Nicolac978

Hi Nicol,

Syringe drivers are only used as a means of administering drugs in a controlled way over a period of time. A little like the drips you see at the side of a hospital beds. The alternative would be to give small injections every half hour which is disturbing. Their name is misleading as it could make you imagine they are being used to drive or force drugs into a patients body.

The correlation between the drivers being used and your Mum's death is a coincidence. She could just have easily have been given the same drugs by a different route. 

My own Mum was on syringe drivers for several days before she died in peace at home surrounded by her family - exactly the sort of dignified and loving end of life experience that she wanted.

Best wishes



Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

15 Feb 2016 22:37 in response to Nicolac978

My mum as had a syringe driver put in today she as pancreatic cancer and the end nurses said its cos she can't swollow her medication which she can' I think it's giving her her pain relief when she needs it don't think it makes them pass over quicker it's just so they can have their medication n not be in any pain so they are pain free when they pass over n dye . Hope this helps you lv ❤️❤️

Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

17 Apr 2016 21:32 in response to Buttons6

Hi, my friend Louise lost her dad to cancer a couple of years ago and he was in horrendous pain and there was a shortage of syringe drivers in our area. He finally got one when someone died and it was no longer needed by them. It made all the difference and I remember Louise saying she wished he had it sooner to ease his pain. A year later we have set up ngnpuk and we are fundraising in our area to buy these machines. We have bought four so far and have just raised enough to buy another two when required. We met with the nurses last week and they explain that these are used if you cannot swallow so you don't necessarily have to be dying as they can be used to administer antisickness drugs. They are amazing machines and no one would ever suffer x


Syringe Drivers - Did it speed up my mum passing away??

5 Jun 2016 22:04 in response to Nicolac978

Hi my mum died this month have to say I have been beating myself up thinking I allowed the nurse to use the driver too soon, as I feel that was the end and I didn't get a chance to say goodbye, when the nurse first administered it, mum as sleeping but when he woke she was staring at the ceiling and nit talking then more was administered and she died within a few hours, the thing that makes me think the driver was the end fir mum almost the same thing happened to a dear friend.

the nurse tried to assure me it wasnt my decision to make er administrating to he driver,