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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

Nicola

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

3 Mar 2012 08:34 in response to Nicolac978

hi

   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

Luke

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

Nicola

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!

Luke

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

 

GILLY

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
Dave

 

 

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't.so 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

Sam.

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,

 

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

18 Jun 2016 00:58 in response to shirljon

I lost my dad 9 weeks ago  he had brain tumers and was in hospital he was in no pain and was eating and drinking .on the Wednesday he had a little headache so he had a small dose of morphine on the thurday they were giving him small doses by mouth .on the Thursday night I sat with him until 11pm he was fine when I left him.on the Friday lunchtime he was sitting in bed being fed his lunch first time he had to be fed and he was very tired looking I know now it was the drugs they were giving him.I said dad how you feeling today and he said he was as happy as the flowers in May.the nurse's then told me they were putting the driver in I started crying but felt that I couldn't question a doctor's decision I was confused I want bk and kissed my dad and told him I loved him when I went bk a few hours later oh my god what we had to watch was horrific dark brown liquid coming out of dad's mouth that had to be pumped out with a machine this went on for 2 days it was that bad I fainted at his bedside he looked like he was in pain and I felt like he was locked inside himself and couldn't move when the priest came to see him my dad was tring to move and talk when he heard the Lord's prayer .on the same day just before I saw him take his last breath there was tears in his eyes and he was trying to make noices.I could go on forever the thing is I shouldn't have left them put the driver in because if the truthe be told the nhs took my father's life and I can't forgive myself or them he was palliative care and I think that's why they did it but no one will give me answers.I'm in so much pain that iv turned to writing on this site if never done anything like this before I'm not even on Facebook or any social media.but when I'm strong enough I'm going to get legal advice so this never happens to any one else. God bless you dad.

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

20 Jun 2016 10:59 in response to isabella

As there seem to be some misconceptions around regarding syringe drivers I thought it might be useful to repost this :

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.

They are not used to hasten death, but to make people comfortable in the last stages of their lives.

 

Hope that helps

Luke (a pharmacist so I have a bit of knowledge on this subject)


Read more at https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-chat/thread/syringe...

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

21 Jun 2016 10:48 in response to Luke

Thank you luke for taking the time to reply and I beleive that the driver might be ok in some cases where the patient is not eating or drinking and they are near the end but my dad wasn't ready for the driver I found out that it wasn't the doctor that authorised the driver it was the head nurse at hospital I didn't think nurse's could do that. I'm seeing my doctor today as I can't cope with how my dad died and thank you again

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

21 Jun 2016 14:32 in response to isabella

Hello Isabella,

I am one of the nurses and our moderators wondered if there was anything that we could say that might help at this difficult time. To be honest I am not sure that there is much that I can add to what Luke has already said. Also as we were not involved in your dad’s care I am afraid that we cannot say much about the decisions that were made. But  I am sorry to learn that you are upset about his care.

You mentioned that you are seeing your GP. I hope that this was useful, for you. It is not unusual to feel pain and distress for quite some time after the loss of a loved one.  Talking can help a little.  Therefore if you think it might be useful you are very welcome to call the nurse team directly to talk about things. Our freephone number is 0808 800 4040 and we are here from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am to 5pm.

Take care,

Jean.

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

21 Jun 2016 23:16 in response to isabella

Hi Isabella,

I'm so sorry to hear about the trauma your Dad suffered at the end of his life and that you had to witness it. 

Luke has already given you a good explanation about what syringe drivers are and how they work. I don't think the syringe driver itself would have made any difference, but there are other questions you could ask your GP which might help explain why your Dad had such an awful experience. 

In your place I'd ask why his condition deteriorated so rapidly, were the drugs changed after the syringe driver was used, was he being given sufficient fluids, what exactly was the brown liquid in his mouth and what caused it, has there has been a Post Mortem exam - if there has been one did this reveal anything unexpected and finally did anything go wrong with your Dad's treatment? These may seem obvious but difficult questions to ask, but asking them is probably the only way you'll get the answers you need. 

I know how devastating it is to lose a parent to cancer, but losing your Dad under such circumstances must be truly awful. 

I hope you get the answers you need. Nothing will make things any better but knowing what, if anything, went wrong might help you get through the next few days and might help save someone else from going through a similar experience.

 

Best wishes

Dave

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

22 Jun 2016 16:53 in response to davek

Thank you for taking the time to reply I have spoken to my doctor a few times about my dad's death and he believes that questions need to be answered .I have spoken to the doctor that was attending to my dad and she got a bit annoyed with me asking questions I then spoke to the head nurse and she alsolooked uncomfortable when I asked why the driver was givin so suddenly.she said the brownish fluids was blood coming from somewhere my poor dad was fine b 4 he got the driver.no there was no postmortom done as my dad was terminal .my dad's death was so awful and I never want that to happen to anyone ever again so I have made a decision to go to a solicitor and ask him to help me get answers because the people involved won't give me a straight answer I'm also going to be getting counciling as I won't take medication. even the hospital staff said it was the worst they had seen in 30years. I feel in my heart so strong that something's wasn't right . Thank you 

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

22 Jun 2016 17:00 in response to davek

And Dave thank you again your words have helped and your right the reason I have to do something is so it never happens again to anyone in that hospital other people in my town have told me there bad experiences with the hospital so I'm not alone thank you and take care

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

8 Oct 2016 00:03 in response to Luke

It's been six months now since my dad passed and there has been an investigation by the McMillan nurse that's the head of my area.I have a meeting on Tuesday about the outcome. I havnt been on this chat since I first put it on I have been to hell and back felt every emotion possibly , but I want you all to know who have lost someone to cancer that what you go through makes you a stronger person you must beleive in time that the pain never leaves but god gives you time to breath and you learn to accept that your loved ones are at peace . I don't know what made me go bk on this tonight mabye just to say hang in there this pain will get easier and you will get through this because our loved ones that have passed don't want to see us suffer  and we will be together in a better life. God bless

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

8 Oct 2016 00:28 in response to Luke

Im sorry to say this luke but what you said isnt always the case unless you have been through what our family went through you cant say that the drugs dont have anything to do with there death in my dad's case I believe the drugs killed him I'm sorry but no disrespect to you I know you are only trying to help but every case is different  my dad's case was horrific and was under investigation I get answers on Tuesday. But I have to say that my dad's case was so unbelievably because there was circumstances that I can't talk about yet but I will when I'm ready then youus can judge thank you and god bless

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

8 Oct 2016 15:48 in response to isabella

Hi Isabella,

Thanks for the update, I'm glad that you've reached acceptance and are feeling emotionally stronger. I hope things go OK for you on Tuesday and you get the answers you need to all your questions.

Best wishes

Dave

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

30 Oct 2016 02:19 in response to shirljon
hi sorry for your loss But Iam thinking the same. My mum went in hospital with a swollen leg and foot She was placed on a diabetic word which I won't say anything about that work apart from they hadn't got a clue on what they was doing Got a call to say mum had a seizure And was being taking for a scan results come back as she'd had a very small stroke Two weeks she was in the hell of a place then another call you mum in being transferred to ICU The staff there are 2nd to none mum what in there 4 day not being told anything apart from the doctor with come and see you Iam still waiting now 3 mum was put on a syringe drive and lasted 18 hours so YES in my opinion they do help them along. I phone the hospital 3 weeks ago to request to see the who my mum was under at the time in ICU and still waiting for a call back Wen I say the ICU are 2nd to that's referring to the care they get Kind regards Steve

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

30 Oct 2016 08:51 in response to william1939

Thank you for your reply.i have known for 7 months that the driver killed my father and I followed my heart to prove this as I don't want anyone going through what he did. dad was not near ready for the driver .there has been an investigation at the hospital and for a while I thought there was going to be a cover up but i was so excited when I got a phone call on friday from the top people who handle complaints on the nhs there is a big meeting tomorrow. Monday. They have told me that there is certain things they are not happy about in dad's medical report and they are very concerned and that I should be proud of myself for not giving up.it's a big meeting tomorrow and hopefully I'l get answers as my heart is broken what I saw dad go through.so follow your heart and get the answers you need or you will never move on .I will let you know how the meeting goes take care

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

17 Nov 2016 21:09 in response to Nicolac978
Sorry to hear about you're loss, my dad was in and out ove hospital, but the last 5weeks he stayed in and he got worse bed bound, on friday i was told he didn't have long he had that drive in by monday he had died he only lasted 5hours15mins and yes it helps them its them fighting till its time for them to go , my dad hadn't spoke to his brother for over 10years he was asked what time you going home he said 4oclock he died wright on 4oclock, but just before he died he looked at his grandson turned his eyes looked at his brother looked at me and died, but thay do get a burst ove life then back down again then it time thay no, but its even harder when you are in the room watching them die and you can do nothing its really killing me

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

17 Nov 2016 21:37 in response to isabella

 I went to see the doctor and we asked questions i took my son with me because he nose about this, he asked the doctor was it a driver he said we can't use  that word it was jus a very high pain relief, but it wasn't morphine but it was from the Same family with a different name, my dad was given that by mouth first with one ove then little cups then with a siringe, but i can still see his face it was really tromatizen and i can't stop crying i have the fruneral to go to yet.

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

17 Nov 2016 22:08 in response to davek

No he hasn't had a post mortem half a hour the nurse came in to roll him washed him down took his socks off but clean sheets on and took the driver out his lung were filling up with water , it was really traumatizing that was half 3 by 4he was dead ever time we were talking to him his leg and toes were moving he was moving his jaw trying to say sum it.my dad wasn't ready to go, if he can get through having nearly thirty strokes which his thirteen one paralysed him.and he was suppose to come home on the day he died, the bed and every thing was brought to the house, im dreading the funeral. Yes thay did take him off his meds and changed some ove them