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Molly Maloof, MD

Director of Clinical Content

My father

My father is 85 years old, he currently is fighting prancitis in the hospital. Vitals good: no fever or any other terminal illness; blood count went from 20 to 13 and still going down; sugar normal; has oxygen mask on. Should we request a feeding tube to feed him or not? Doctors are saying its a risk. They seem to not want to work. What should I do ? Help please.
  • Male | 36 years old
  • Conditions: No

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Well..if he is fighting a problem with his pancreas there is a reason to consider a tube feeding...if he is fighting a prostate infection there is no reason to consider tube feedings. So lets assume you are talking about his pancreas it depends on what the cause of the inflamation is....does he have a stone? Is it alcohol related? A feeding tube is not a pleasant experience at all...Your dad should be able to eat and drink enough to support himself and a feeding tube has not been shown to prolong meaningful survival. Please note the meaningful part...Your dads numbers are trending in the right direction..but at his age he could have many complications.....I urge you to focus on your dads quality time...and qualitty of life...prolong the good times as long as possible but lots of procedures and ICU time at his age often adds little but more cost and suffering. You said the doctors seem to not want to work...I ask you to consider that it takes a tremendous amount of training and experience to say...less is more...its very easy to this procedure, this scan...add this IV etc...its far more difficult to say lets just wait and see...the younger doctors are all for more action and more procedures...the more experienced know the more is not better...I hope the best your your dad ..get him aggressive physical therapy when he can take. it.
I suspect that you mean pancreatitis. That can be a serious illness to recover from, even in a younger person. I think you should respect your father's wishes and see whether he wants a feeding tube or not. You have not provided enough information about his clinical situation and what the doctors have told you regarding his prognosis. It also would depend on how good his health was before he got sick. If he is 85 and frail, that is a very different situation then this is the first illness he has ever had in his life
Stephen Brenner
Sorry to hear about the illness that your father suffers from . I have no idea what prancitis is but do you mean pancreatitis from alcohol consumption? Ask your father what he wants done. It is his life. This is a difficult situation for an aging parent, but it is basically up to him.