A ventilator is a life-support machine that helps you breathe if you can no longer breathe on your own. The machine provides oxygen to your lungs through a tube. The tube enters your mouth and goes down your throat to your lungs. Most people on ventilators have to be fed through another tube that goes into the stomach.
You may feel that being on a ventilator would prevent a "natural" death or would keep you alive longer than necessary. Or you may feel that being on a ventilator would extend your life so you can do certain things, such as saying good-bye to loved ones.
The decision about whether to be on a ventilator is a personal one. Be sure to talk it over with your doctor and loved ones.
Be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: June 10, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Robin L. Fainsinger, MB, ChB, LMCC, CCFP - Palliative Medicine & Jean S. Kutner, MD, MSPH - Geriatric Medicine, Palliative Medicine
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