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Having an End-of-Life Conversation

Having a chance to decide on how to be treated at your death bed

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I was in the ICU. Alone. The cardiologist who treated my father was having his clinical session. My father was dying in front of me as I watched him breathe through an oxygen mask. 

Unsure of my next steps, I updated my family on my father's situation furiously.

"The cardiologist misdiagnosed dad's condition", my sister, who is a doctor, said. 

"Dad has pneumonia because he has swallowing disorder, and the food goes down the wrong track when he swallows. He should stop eating".

All this cardiologist said was that my father had a lung infection because bacteria went into his lungs.

While I was typing frantically, a second doctor came by.

"Please talk to my sister, she will tell you about my dad's condition," I pleaded.

The two sensible doctors conversed. After that, passed the phone to my dad, with my sister still on the line.

"Dad, you remember we had a conversation about end-of-life care before? Now, this is the time. You have to insert a feeding tube, but it is only going to be temporary. You agreed with this option. Can I give the green light to the doctor?" my sister asked.

"Yes", my dad replied breathlessly. 

The nurses swiftly fit a feeding tube for my father. He survived after that.


I wasn't aware that my sister had a detailed end-of-life conversation with my father. If my sister did not have that conversation, it would be very likely that my dad would have passed away.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Can everyone have the same chance to make a decision on how they want to be treated for their end-of-life care?

Tell us about your work experience:

Research associate, specializing in Malaysia's economy

If you participated in an End of Life Storytelling Event, tell us which Chapter or city you came from:



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Hi Evelyn, thanks for the post! It'd be great to add an image with this. Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

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