On stage: Jeroen Verwiel, internist-intensivist at the department of Intensive Care at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. The most wonderful job of the world. Since it is about vulnerable people. With lives in danger.
He asked us to use our imagination. And we are introduced to a boy of 25 years of age. Nice, lots of friends, handsome, intelligent, loved life, very social. He liked to be outdoors. And then one day, totally unexpected and out of the blue, when riding his bike, he is in a very severe accident. The 25 year old boy broke almost everything, including his facial bones. He had a very severe and deep coma due to brain damage.
The boy was brought to the hospital by the mobile medical team and he was brought to the intensive care unit. Unfortunately the intercranial pressure raised up and up. And he developed even more brain damage.
The expert team kept him asleep for 4 weeks and then one day they tried to awaken him. But the team failed. 4 days later he woke up a bit: and the team scored an M6: being the highest score possible. The professionals ware happy but the family of the boy was not. The professionals saw the highest score possible. The family however, saw a totally helpless but beloved son, brother and friend. The mother said to the doctor ‘What you are happy about does not respond to anything my son used to love’ and she wondered what her sons life would be like in the future. The doctor told her that they could not predict this. And the mother replied ‘This cannot be the future of my son!’
The dedicated doctor and his team realized that they, together with the close family, had to make a decision. A decision which he and his team have to make almost every week. In true partnership with the family. In the most vulnerable moments of life and death.
Both doctor and family trusted each other. Together they decided to stop further treatment. And the boy who loves the outdoors, has many friends and loves real life, passed away.
The family was happy and grateful and the doctor was not afraid! And the boy? He was at peace!
A live blog by Eveliene Manten-Horst