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

13 Nov 2017 02:56 in response to isabella

Been following you’re story Isabella and very interested hope you get justice for your dad x sorry for your loss... making me wonder about my mum now too , as my mum went into hospice for respite and never came back out alive driver put in slept whole time for 4 days then gone x

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

11 Feb 2018 00:51 in response to Nicolac978
Hi in my knowledge being carer the nursed only use a syringe drive when the patient is very close yo the end of their life. It is quite normal to find patients go quickly usually within 3 weeks of a syringe drive going in if its a morphine syringe drive. I am so sorry you had to go through this on your own hunny.

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

19 Feb 2018 13:50 in response to Lynne122x

In my opinion syringe driver helps to speed up the passing.

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

20 Feb 2018 14:34 in response to Mazzini

Yes I totally believe that too , it was just the fact everyone was not being honest with our family regarding mums condition from the very beginning of her illness, and she was not treated in anyway and as I said she went into hospice for respite for few days and was quite happy, talkative in right frame of mind then soon as that was put in she couldn’t stay awake then she was gone 4 days later such a shock .

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

20 Feb 2018 22:35 in response to davek

Syringe drivers are almost always only ever used during end of life care. This can lead to them being wrongly blamed for hastening death. 

Sadly there may well be some cases where they are used inappropriately or inexpertly. In my Mum's case, the syringe driver reduced the pain and stress involved in her receiving pain control via frequent intravenous injections. The contrast between her peaceful death and my grandad's could not be greater - pain management had improved so much in the 15 or so years between these two events.

I believe that in the majority of cases the syringe drivers are an effective medical device.

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

20 Feb 2018 23:09 in response to davek

My one experience of seeing a syringe driver in use was much the same as you have described, davek.  When a friend had lost the ability to swallow - and was very near the end of his life - his morphine was put into a driver so that the pain could be controlled in his final days.  He died a peaceful death and was conscious in his last moments.

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

17 Dec 2018 21:58 in response to isabella

I  cant believe what i am reading i believe the same thing  has happened to my Dad, he died a week ago and i fought to get him fluids and tried  to stop them  drugging him i wanted him to come home but i lost the battle they all thought i was an hysterical daughter. This treatment should not be allowed without talking to the  family  my dad died in Marie curie  and was stopped  all food fluids & medication and was what felt like was put to sleep, he was given sedation and pain relief through 1 syringe driver they gave him melazapam with opoids and other medication without consulting us he never closed his eyes and just stared at the ceiling  for 5 days he couldnt speak or communicate because of the sedation i dont find the way my dad died as dying with dignity it was barbaric . I will never get over how my dads life ended i am truly heartbroken and cannot forget how his life was ended too soon 

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

18 Dec 2018 00:07 in response to shellby66

Hi,

I lost my wife 3 weeks ago and her last few days were spent hooked up to a driver dosed up with Morphine and Midazolam.

She had metastatic breast cancer in her lungs and during those last days she had built up a fear of not being able to breathe, hence the reason for the driver, and because apparently those drugs releived her symptoms, which they seemed to do.  But, as a consequence she became very drowsy and gradually over the duration of those last days lost her ability to eat, drink and communicate with her family. 

The disease in her lungs was apparently advanced and had restricted her bronchus, so I'm not sure that the driver caused her death, it was probably just the fact that her lungs could no longer function properly.  Without the driver she would have endured unimaginable suffering, and I say that because her passing was the most traumatic thing I've ever seen, and that was even with the driver in!  Her passing was so violent that she was gasping for her last breaths of air like a fish out of water, it was horrible to see such a lovely woman have to go through that! 

Now, do I like drivers?.. No I certainly dont, and nor am I a fan of NHS Palliative care either after watching my beloved wife go through that.  To be blunt, the palliative care teams idea of comforting my wife was to hook her up to a driver and that was it, just keep topping it up and leave her to struggle with her breaths.  I can honestly say, and I also had no qualms about saying this to the palliative care nurses, was that what I saw them do was shocking and completely inhumane. A vet would have put an animal down, rather than let it go through the same trauma that my wife endured. 
I can honestly say that I now completely understand why terminally ill patients campaign for euthanasia!

I am very bitter about the whole cancer journey that my wife went through, it has destroyed her life and shattered the family completely, and as her husband I am completely devastated!

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

18 Dec 2018 14:35 in response to Axetogrind

Hi,

So sorry to read about the circumstances of your wife’s death and the impact it has had on you and your family. 

You might want to consider writing a letter to your local CCG about how badly let down you feel your wife was. The syringe driver is only a mean of delivering medication, if the wrong medication or insufficient quantities were prescribed the result would be the same however it was administered. A letter would ensure they looked into your wife’s care and might help stop someone else going through the same awful experience. 

As a cancer patient who has seen close relatives die of cancer I will always be an advocate of legal assisted suicide. It is my life and I should have the right to choose how I leave it.

Best wishes 

Dave

 

 

 

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

20 Dec 2018 09:33 in response to shellby66

OMG you poor thing, I am so sorry for you. I still suffer over my dad's death. I took it to solicitors and the NHS. I only ever wanted justice for my dad and everyone else who has gone through this. But oh no, they will never admit they are wrong. I still can't look at the nurses from the local hospital and they know it. They digust me.

The outcome of my case with the NHS was a 19 page report. 12 mistakes were found during my dad's treatment and 13 recommendations were made for the hospital and I was thanked by the NHS. Seemingly I've made that hospital a better place and there not so quick in putting the driver in now without consulting the family. But it's still happening all over the country. I hope they all get there karma.

God bless you and I wish I could take away how you feel because I know what the pain feels like. I felt like I was dying everyday. It's been two and a half years and I'm only now trying to be at peace. I became a very angry, bitter woman, please don't let that happen to you. These people are not worth it and we'll never beat the NHS. Take care. 

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

20 Dec 2018 17:06 in response to Sam121

Dear Sam,what a wonderful thing you are doing fund raising to buy syringe drivers for those at home to be able to have. My late husband some 25 yrs ago now was very fortunate to have one at home when he was suffering from Cancer of the Tongue ,without it he could never have been with me and the children in the last months,weeks ,days and ,moments of his life. He was pain free ,he could obviously not swallow because of where his Tumour was ,he felt so grateful for having the Syringe driver,that following his passing we bought one for our Cancer Care Unit so someone else could like your friend`s Dad be comfotable in their own home surrounded by friends and family. I hope Nichola reading what everyone has said in response to her post,will feel very reassured about the use of syringe Drivers and to you i commend what you are doing .xx  

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

21 Dec 2018 00:58 in response to Lynne122x

There was 13 recommendations made for that hospital because of the 12 MISTAKES THAT WERE FOUND IN MY DAD'S CARE. OK the driver mabye be the right decision when the person can no longer eat drink speak move but I know they took my dad's life with the driver and will never change my mind  For God's sake my dad was sitting dressed and eating drinking comunicating normally I actually can't on with this it's bringing it all back. That awful helpless pain we feel and frustration. But at least 13 changes were made in that hospital GOD FORGIVE THEM BECAUSE I CAN'T. 

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

31 Dec 2018 14:20 in response to isabella

Hi I am a HCP who sets up and maintains syringe drivers in community settings as part of my job. I am very sorry to hear about some of the experiences on here.

There is a lot of misinformation about syringe drivers. They are NOT used to speed up anyone's death. When used correctly, the device administers very low doses of medication over a period of 24 hours to control symptoms at the end of life. There are other situations where drivers can be used such as with brittle asthma. Overall the medication being delivered is often just over 0.5 mls per hour- very low over a 24 hour period and it is always diluted with water as well. The medication will take time to get into the body. It is being administered to the fat layer of tissue and NOT being given into a vein. Typically the medication used in syringe drivers is pain relief, anti sickness, medication that reduces excess secretions and also medication used to prevent agitation. We would start with low doses prescribe by hospice and the GP and work upwards form there if necessary. It is based on what medication has been taken by the patient orally. If a patient can manage with a pain patch and oral meds then we would not set up a driver. It is all based on individual needs and situations. Sometimes a person may be on a driver for only a few hours, days and others for weeks if required. It is all individual circumstance. Euthanasia in the country is illegal and is not part of using a driver. 

A syringe driver will only be put up when swallowing becomes very poor to non existent, oral medication is not effective and the person is extremely agitated right near to the end of their life. There are many unwanted and distressing symptoms that may come on quite suddenly and they need to be managed for the comfort of the patient. People may start requiring more and more injections towards the end of their life and a driver is a way of preventing this by keeping continuous back ground medication to prevent breakthrough pain etc and avoiding frequent injections. 

I cannot comment on the use of syringe drivers in hospitals but I have seen them used very effectively in the community where symptoms are brought under control and patients can pass away peacefully without unpleasant side effects. We always discuss with the family what we are doing and the driver should never come as a surprise as we discuss this beforehand. We never go straight in with a driver unless it is absolutely necessary. 

I hope this is helpful although it is a very upsetting subject for many and I am truly sorry about the circumstamces that people have experienced on here. x

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

2 Jan 2019 09:04 in response to FraB

I wish to God it had been you looking after my father  I understand what your trying to do but nothing will ever take away the pain of my father's life being taken by the drugs in the driver it was disgusting unprofessional. Read my story again. But because I reported it to the NHS the hospital has become a better place thank god. I have a 19 page report to prove that the hospital that took my father's life 13 recommendations were made for that hospital so mabye you need to believe the horror stories as well as the nice stories  We are not exagerating. 

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

2 Jan 2019 16:35 in response to isabella

Hi Isabella,

Your story illustrates why I always advise people to make a formal complaint when NHS treatment goes wrong. So many people don't complain and consequently poor practice and incompetence goes unchallenged leaving more people to suffer.

Nothing can turn back the clock and prevent your Father's awful experience from happening, but at least you know  you've helped prevent it happening again to someone else. The forum rules prevent us from naming individual NHS organisations, but I know of at least three Trusts where drivers were routinely used inappropriately - one of them hit the news headlines last year, so issues obviously exist in at least some places. 

My only personal experience with a driver was during my Mum's final days. It was used appropriately and competently and saved her from having to be given multiple injections daily - which she hated. I realise we were lucky, but they're just a medical device and are only ever as good as the people who use them.

 

Best wishes

Dave