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Dying of Kidney Failure

By April 27, 2010

Kidney failure can be a complicated illness to manage.  Patients with advanced renal failure will need a kidney transplant or long-term renal dialysis to survive.  Dialysis might be a welcome life-saving treatment for many kidney failure patients but for the seriously ill and elderly it can be a physical and emotional burden and severely diminish quality of life.  Making the decision to stop dialysis can be an extremely difficult one to make.  Similarly, making the decision whether to start dialysis on patients that are seriously ill with multiple medical problems can be just as challenging.

If the decision has been made to forgo or to discontinue dialysis, you might be wondering what death from kidney failure is like.  While death is rarely a welcome visitor, the good news is that death from kidney failure is considered a "gentle death".  Many physicians and nurses I've talked to have actually stated they would choose kidney failure over any other illness to succumb to.  Here is the information you need about dialysis, making the decision to stop it, and dying of kidney failure.

What is Dialysis?

Choosing to Stop Dialysis

What is it Like to Die of Kidney Failure?

April 28, 2010 at 9:13 am
(1) tony says:

I need help. My dad past recent, and he had been given Roxanol & Ativan Combination. All info i gather says it is a euthanasiation drug. Not approved by the fda. What can i do? any info would be appreciated. He didn’t have to go this way. thank you

April 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm
(2) dying says:

Tony, I’m sorry to hear about the death of your father. Roxanol is a brand name of concentrated oral morphine solution that is used to treat pain and breathlessness. Ativan is used to treat anxiety or restlessness. These two medications are perhaps the most commonly used drugs at the end of life. They are not euthanasia drugs. There is a theory that morphine given at the end of life may hasten the dying process but that theory hasn’t been proven (it’s difficult to know if death occurred as a result of morphine slowing breathing or the actual illness). These medications are often essential to patient comfort so most people accept the risk that death may be hastened by hours or days.
The FDA’s position on liquid morphine can be found in this blog post Liquid Morphine Stays. There are links at the end of that post to further information on liquid morphine. I hope this is helpful.

January 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm
(3) Jayzee Manlapaz says:

Thank you for sharing this it has a very informative content.. I hope more of this comes..

God bless and more power..

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