Hi all. I really do not know what to expect at the moment as my dad is suffering from liver failure (Alcohol Related). We have no real indication of what is going on as the docs are only telling us that he is very poorly. First of all I best describe his current symptoms and then maybe someone can give me an idea of what is likely to happen next.
9 days ago he was admitted to hospital with the following symptoms:-
Weight loss - Looked like a skeleton
Extremely yellow face and eyes
Confusion and disorientation
swollen tummy and feet,poor mobility
Has red veins all over his face.
The docs have said that he has cirrhosis, very thin blood, not clotting, high sodium levels, and again said he was very poorly. He is not in ITU or HDU at the moment, however today he has developed pneumonia. He looks very ill and is on a drip and a catheter has been fitted. Today he has changed from very agitated earlier in the week and confused, to very sleepy and drowsy which lead to the diagnosis of the pneumonia. His blood pressure is now and the docs say his bloods are not great, and has low oxygen levels in his blood.
They have given us no indication at all if this is the end, if it is far away or if we should fear the worse and prepare.......
When ever someone who is seriously ill develops pneumonia, you must be prepared for the worst case scenario. Hospital acquired pneumonia is often resistant to antibiotics and can swiftly overcome a weak patient.
This said, if he survives the pneumonia, cirrhosis is often treatable for many years, depending on the amount of liver function that remains.
Doctors and nurses know (and should tell you) a lot depends on if a patient can get ambulatory (up and walking) and eating again. As long as he's flat on his back and not eating, there is grave risk regarding survival. If he can recover from this pneumonia and get back on food and short walks around the hospital, he may well bounce back and survive several/many more years depending on how much liver function he has left.
Many thanks for your reply, just to find someone to talk to about this is a relief. Unfortunately,he is very drowsy, also he cannot walk, move, struggling to talk (maybe dueto the medication)??? and he certainly isnt eating. Surely if there was any immediate danger then they would have a duty to tell us?
The first few days of pneumonia in an already compromised patient are something no one can predict with confidence, and many (rightly so) do not wish to cause undue alarm or distress.
Patients often respond to treatment and recover remarkably well. Pneumonia can also be a very dangerous complication in a severely compromised patient and progress swiftly when they do not respond to treatment.
If he was alcohol dependent when admitted to the hospital, he most likely is on medication to manage withdrawal and this could be a substantial factor in his mental state.
The next few days should give a better indication of which way things will go, and the doctors tone may shift during this time.
I'm not a doctor by the way, but I've worked in healthcare for many years.
My Father went into hospital for an initial work-up for leukemia a few years back. Leukemia is usually controlled with chemo quite well for a time before it stops responding, but my Dad got pneumonia during the work-up and went swiftly downhill.
We were expecting to be battling leukemia for several years but he was gone within the week. This certainly doesn't happen to everyone, but I was surprised when he went so soon as the doctors had been talking about his future treatment just days earlier.
The doctor and nurses all said, "you just can't tell early on with pneumonia. Patients either respond to treatment, or they don't."
Sad new that my dad passed away on Sunday 2nd Dec. Bronciopneumoia was the cause although decompensated chronic liver disease contributed along with kidney failure. The liver was stable and we'd been told he had 2 years left, and then his kidneys failed, which left us with only days left. A blood transfusion fixed the kidneys, but the pneumonia never responded to treatment. Sad news, but we remember and move on