[Pacemakers] prolong lives, but “all those people will face decisions down the road,” Dr. Mueller said. “’Do I keep it going? Do I turn it off?’” Physicians have similar questions, including what kinds of patients confront these choices and who usually winds up making these decisions.
Do you or a loved one live with a pacemaker or implanted defibrillator? These devices keep the clock ticking, so to speak. But when you are making end-of-life plans, when is the right time to turn the pacemaker off? This scenario is all too common and is presenting challenges in geriatric medicine and palliative care.
Recently, The New Old Age Blog took a look at this perplexing issue in an article titled “A Decision Deferred: Turning Off the Pacemaker.”