List of Pros and Cons of Life Support

When a loved one is on life support it can be very hard for the family to cope with the medical diagnosis that has been given by the doctors. Doctors will give you their medical opinion on the quality of life a person will lead if they pull out of an illness and the likelihood if the person will ever be able to pull through their illness. The family maybe faced with making the painful decision to end life support.

List of Pros of Life Support

1. Time Frame
Life support is used to sustain life in the hopes that a loved one may recover on their own or regain enough function to operate with minimal medical intrusion. Life support can be wonderful if the medial prognosis shows that the patient may recover soon. If the patient is considered brain dead or shows symptoms that death is inevitable life support may only prolong the patient’s pain and suffering. Many times patients on a ventilator will be sedated so you won’t know the extent of their pain.

2. Patient Wishes
If you know that your loved one would want to fight every minute of their illness no matter how much pain they are in it can be hard to determine when enough is enough. On the other hand if your family member has a DNR in place family members will clearly know their loved ones wishes; it still won’t make the decision easy. It is in the best interest of the patient to protect their wishes. Suppose your family member did not verbalize their wishes ahead of time, you will want to think about your loved ones overall attitudes about life support.

3. Personal Views
Many people have their own personal views about life support. Although it is hard to let a loved one go there are some people that feel that if someone needs to be placed on life support hospital should not place them on life support because it is simply their time to go. Religions and personal beliefs about life support should always be respected.

List of Cons of Life Support

1. Conflictions
Many ethical, moral, and monetary issues surround the decision that the family makes when they decide if it’s time to end life support. Although life support can save lives it can also cause pain, suffering, and have devastating side effects for the patient also. Before the family makes a decision on whether or not it’s time to end life support the doctor will often give their opinion but there are some factors that the family should know.

Additional Questions to Consider

1. What will the quality of the patients life be if they recover? (i.e. brain dead, pain etc)
2. Is there a chance that the patient will recover?
3. Is there a treatment plan or course of action that can be taken other than life support?
4. How long and what are the cost associated with prolonged life support?
5. What are the patients prolonged life support options?
6. Is death inevitable?