Every year thousands of people lapse into long term comas or die. This rate may be reduced by a simple change made to a common hospital procedure for comatose patients. This is seen only as routine maintenance procedure that is performed by nursing staff, for coma patients during every shift.
This common procedure is instead, a wide open window of opportunity, to awaken the patient from their coma. A simple procedural change may save thousands of lives yearly. There needs to be no added expenditure of resources or time and the results may be beyond value.
Most, if not all coma patients, share certain hospital dictated patient-maintenance procedures and ventilation is often one of those. The lungs must be suctioned clear of liquids, usually once during each nursing shift to stave off pneumonia. The process is stressful for the patient and during the suction the pain is sufficient to bring them to a heightened state of consciousness.
Suctioning of the lungs should ALWAYS be accompanied by an attempt to rouse the patient, who responds to the pain involved. Even suctioning them repeatedly, to keep the patient at a higher, pain induced, state of consciousness may be worth the effort, if an attempted awakening is under way.
I have no medical credentials, but I am a keen observer.
My brother-in-law Joe slipped into a coma the week before Christmas. He had a brain aneurism and went through a successful operation, but was still comatose. He was being ventilated etc. and just by accident (A lot of those happen IN hospitals every year.) he was suctioned by two different nurses right at shift change, within minutes of each other.
As I watched from the doorway (I was asked to leave the room.) I saw him writhe in pain and remain agitated for some time, when along comes the second nurse. I saw the procedure re-elevate his agitation and as soon as she was out of the way I started calling his name. His eyes were open just a slit so I touched him and made movements while calling out “Joe”.
His eyes opened wide and my next question was: “How are you doing?” which he answered with a shrug. Joe was back.
I announced his return, from the coma, at the nurse’s station and made the most joyous phone call of my life – to my dear sister-in-law, who was at home with her children. Her husband was alive and conscious.
If you have a loved one who is a coma patient, this lung suctioning procedure is your golden opportunity to awaken them. If it means risking official displeasure, do it anyway.