Friday, January 7, 2011

Research help needed: Back surgery, complications, power-of-attorney, DNR, etc.

My loyal blog minions, I need to call upon you again to help with some research. Here's my scenario: This is a paranormal/SFF story, and MC1 is having a rather invasive surgery to remove some electronic implants from his spine. The nature of the implants isn't relevant to this, but they're very tiny, and there are three total.

Ideally, I'd like MC2 (who has MC1's power-of-attorney) to have to make some sort of decision during the surgery. Such as whether or not to continue with the operation, whether or not to keep him on life support temporarily, something. Maybe MC1 isn't tolerating the anesthesia well, but they've only gotten two of the three implants out, so do they continue getting the third or bring him out and try again later? Would this be the surgeon's discretion, or would it be up to the person with power-of-attorney? I'm still reading up on POAs, back surgeries, etc., so forgive my cluelessness. It can also happen after the surgery, whenever...some time before MC1 regains consciousness, ideally.

Basically, I need a complication, something, that'll put MC2 in a position of having to make a potentially life or death decision for MC1. And yes, MC1 pulls through in the end.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Smacks over the head for being a complete moron? Feel free to post comments here or e-mail me.

Thanks in advance, loyal blog minions. :)


  1. How close to the brain are these implants? If they are in the brain stem then you can get into potential brain damage and hemorrhaging in which case the next of kin or power of attorney would have to decide if heroic measures should be taken.

    Sometimes damage can mean they need temporary life support but there is no way to tell for sure if they will ever regain consciousness, Also if they opt to continue life support they may be asked if they are interested in signing a DNR order.

    Prior to the patient regaining full consciousness (if that happens) there is no way to know what if any long term effects there will be.

  2. Medical Power of Attorney would give MC2 total power in making decisions (think parent saying what happens to child). My foster mom had to choose whether to put her 35 yr old daughter on a respirator to prevent pneumonia during a medical crisis. She chose not to give the Dr the DNR that had been previously signed and to go against what she knew her daughter (the patient) wanted. DNRs have many levels. You can allow or disallow many different things depending on how much effort you want done to save you. Heroic measures, life support, medications -types allowed/disallowed, you can say only allow food and drink or say absolutely nothing can be given to patient. Hope that helps.