Posted by: Lizzie | 2008/09/25

My Fathers Death Screams

My father died in England on 19th September so the pain is still very raw. My sister and I travelled to England and were lucky to spend time with him and say our goodbyes. It was very difficult to leave him dying in a nursing home but thankfully, two days after we left, he passed on peacefully. Apart from the grief I' m experiencing, I' m so disturbed by the fact that the nursing home reported that he spent the entire day and night before he died screaming and thrashing around in his bed. Nobody seems able to explain this to me. He was not in pain as they administered morphine patches just in case. He had early dementia and his organs simply broke down (cause of death) causing his heart to stop. I am struggling with the concept that he was feeling alone and frightened and I' ve tried searching for reasons on the internet (for why he screamed). It would really ease my pain and feelings of guilt if there could be a reasonable explanation for this. On the day of his actual death though, he was peaceful which is a blessing and comfort at least. Does anybody have any knowledge of death screams?

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Our expert says:
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Indeed a most tragic situation to contemplate. What is highly likely is that in the late stages of multiple organ failure, his body chemistry went awry in a major way, making him highly confused. In such situations people often become noisy and randomly mobile, though so far as one can establish, they aren't actually suffering or registering any of this. Its like the Death Rattle, when a dying person breathes very noisily towards the end --- which can be highly alarming and disturbing to the onlooker, though the individual is unaware of it and not discomforted by it. I'm surprised that the home told you this, in such an alarming manner, as it was obviously not helpful to you in any way, and may not even have been strictly accurate. If you like, call your local hospice and ask to speak to one of the most experienced bnurses there, whoo can probably comment usefully and based on more experience.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Mary | 2008/09/26

First I am shocked that the nursing home told you about his screams. I am guessing that his screams were maybe part of the dementia and not because he was in pain. Please do contact a palliative doctor and ask as you need to set your mind at rest.

God Bless.

Reply to Mary
Posted by: CLARA | 2008/09/26

I know that when my father died he was quite agitated, it' s part of the palliative signs. About screaming I don' t know.
Maybe you should contact a palliative doctor or nurse as they specialize in that field.

Sorry for you loss!!!

Reply to CLARA

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