After being found unresponsive and not breathing in her bathtub on January 29, Bobbi Kristina has been in a coma for nearly 70 days now. Last month, daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown was transferred to a rehab facility, where she remains on life support.
A family source tells PEOPLE Magazine that things are peaceful and quiet. Brown is staying in a private room.
“The family has brought some things from home for her. Not much – just a few things, like a blanket and some pictures,” the family source says.
According to the source, the shock has worn off and the family is still holding out hope that she’ll come out of it. “We love her and want her to recover.”
All this may be true, but what many want to know is how long will the family keep Bobbi Kristina on life support? Last night, I discussed that very question on HLN’s “Dr. Drew On Call” show.
As a nurse I see families faced with this dilemma everyday. It takes courage to make the selfless decision to discontinue a loved one’s life support and many are hesitant because they don’t want to feel burdened with the thought that they gave up on their loved one. Letting go does not mean you love any less.
I am deeply saddened for the Houston and Brown families, but it’s time they ask themselves, what would Bobbi Kristina want? In fact, ask yourself, what would I want if I were Bobbi Kristina?
Yes, there are times when life support measures are necessary, especially initially after an injury or with a definite plan of care in place. But neither of those are the reasons why Bobbi Kristina remains in a rehab center with a tracheostomy tube connected to a ventilator to support her breathing or why she has a gastric tube which artificially feeds her as she is unable to eat, cough or swallow.
The Risks of Extended Life Support
Life support measures are sometimes a necessary evil, but they are not without risks or discomforts. Although meant to sustain life, in the long run it can create discomfort and contribute negatively to the quality of life. The body begins to break down on its own as the skin weakens and thins due to urinary and bowel incontinence, the person becomes prone to infections such as sepsis and pneumonia, and they become high risk for blood clots due to immobility.
And what is it like to breath on a ventilator? Try breathing through a straw.
Just because we can keep someone on life support doesn’t always mean we should. Bobbi Kristina is a beautiful soul but due to the nature of her injury, her prognosis of recovery is grim.
As a nurse, I wish I could order a miracle for everyone I take care of but I can’t. As a result I do what is humanly possible to ensure they are treated with the best medical care, treated with respect, kept comfortable and not subjected to futile medical care.
If I were Bobbi Kristina’s nurse I would talk to the family about what Bobbi Kristina would want. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our loved ones is to let go and let God. If it were my family member, I would.
Read more at BlackDoctor.org.