Death at home

Another thought: When someome dies at home, in the emotion of the moment the family often calls the paramedics; but, paramedics are required under the law in most states to attempt to resuscitate the patient even if they are deceased; this is useless and adds to the emotional distress of loved ones who are already distraught. My friend who went through this said later she found out that if a person is under a doctor’s care and death is imminent you can just call the coroner. And an autopsy is not required if the doctor will sign off on the death certificate. You should of course check out the details ahead of time. My father is ill as well and is not expected to live long. Unfortunately my mother cannot discuss any of this. Last week she called the paramedics unnecessarily and my poor dad ended up in the convalescent home (a version of hell on earth) for 10 days due to the hospitals need to cover it’s ass. All of this points out the importance of spelling out your own wishes if you find yourself in this positon and cannot speak for yourself. It a very difficult thing to realize you are going to lose a parent. You have my sympathy.

Check with your local EMS protocols…IANAL, YMMV

For my area of CA
If you can get ahold of a written do not rescuitate order DNR and tack it to the wall next to the bed. As long as family did not demand that we attempt to rescuitate we were covered. Maybe you should try convincing mom to check on him a little less or if you’re up to it. Convince mom to let you take care of dad for a few hours…if he dies just dont call. If you want to make it look good to mom, wait 30 min after you find him not breathing then call the paramedics. One of my EMT coworkers did this with her father who was dying of Leukemia. Her mom kept calling ambulances and she finally got mom to go spend a few hours with a friend, and he finally was able to pass away without “interference” from Mom. She was one pretty tough little lady and I dont think many people could do that, but it works, and its pretty much impossible to prove any wrongdoing in court unless you want to admit to it.

Not entirely true. Almost any trained medical personell can pronounce them dead by “obvious signs” blood pooling (lividity), and rigamortis among the many. So if patient has been dead for 30 min or so you will start to see some blood pooling, rigamortis takes a couple hours IIRC.

In Los Angeles county, the paramedics do not have to be called if the deceased was under hospice care. The nurse comes out and pronounces the death, and then the mortuary picks up the remains at the home. By putting a patient on hospice, the doctor is essentially saying that he will sign the death certificate.

Likewise, when I got my EMT certification (New York) one of the first things taught to us was the three signs of death (which, if encountered, don’t even bother to try to resuscitate). The three we were taught were dependent lividity, rigor mortis and decapitation.

Zev Steinhardt