asking about the death of my father - 1252823


hello , my dad was dx first stage IIIa and had pneumonectomy of left lung one year ago, and after some months he had reccurence with brain mets so he became stage IV , i duuno why so quickly while we thought when he did the surgery that he is cured, my dad died on 1-1-2013, 4 days before he enter the hospital i showed hisnew scans to the onco he was happy and told me that his result was good and he has a good response for taxotere, and the lesion in the brain was stable what happend i duno everything was fine ,.lately he was normal going to his work daily but with little more fatigue and in the few days before he past away his breathing became more difficult..until sunday morning he was feeling nausea and later on the day he develop a difficulty of breathing so we take him to the hospital it was new year eve so most of doc was on vacation, im afraid we didn't get the best attention ,they gave him antibiotic and oxygen and finally morphin for the pain and in the eve my dad's heart suddenly stopped ....i asked his onco today which i didn't see before ,he told me that 80 % of lung cancer patient don't die from cancer itself and most of them die as embolism or from hemoragy , and he said that my dad when he enters hospital he had pneumony and then he die due to emboli in his lung i asked how did u know its an emboli, he said i guess its an emboli, how did he knows without doing any test .. and how can people die from emboli while they are in hospital , there is no treatment for such thing ... so does embolism is fatal? i just want to know more about the cause of death of my father its such a chock for me , my dad was healthy and active and showing a good response for his chemo treatment


Dr West
Posts: 4735

I'm very sorry about your father's recent death.

It's not true that 80% of people with lung cancer die from something else, but there are many potential complications that can occur in someone with lung cancer. This question of what causes it is really partly a game of semantics. Everyone technically dies from their heart stopping, but that doesn't mean that this is really the only cause of death. People with cancer are at a higher risk of a blood clot, which is already not uncommon, and people with brain metastases are even more at risk. These things can just happen, as can other complications that just occur out of the blue. Sometimes there aren't completely clear explanations, but unfortunately, looking good with recurrent lung cancer and brain metastases, with one lung can sometimes be just a thin veneer over a bad situation.

I don't think his doctor is really saying that there is complete certainty about what's happening, but very often, that's just not possible in the real world. We can't give explanations for things that are just unknowable to us.

-Dr. West

Posts: 11

thank u Dr West for all the info u gave me u were always ready and for that i'm grateful, what the onco mean by embolism is an embolism in the lung , my dad enter the hospital feeling bad nausea and difficulty in breathing they told us its a pneumonia they gave him antibiotic and oxygen, the next day he wasn't feeling good they finally gave him morphine, first i blamed the Dr and the hospital maybe because it was a chock for me i didn't believe that my dad will die he was looking good two days before, maybe because i didn't understand how he died pneumonia then embolism then death something weird for me so i guess the reason of death are unknown , is it true that they cannot give a med for the blood clot something such heparin for example?

certain spring
Posts: 762

I am sorry for the death of your father, and for the shock you have had.
I don't know if this helps at all, but I know how fast a pulmonary embolism can kill for reasons of my own. On the day of my diagnosis (Stage IV with brain mets, like your father), I was breathless and had pain at the back of my rib cage. The doctors suspected a blood clot and I have never seen (before or since) a medical team move so fast. I was under the CT scanner almost as soon as I had walked in the door. It was a false alarm but they clearly took it very seriously indeed. I looked pretty well at the time and was functioning fine apart from a cough.
I've also had pneumonia, which is common in lung cancer and can fill up the lung/s with infection very fast, especially if the immune system is depressed and white blood counts low (as your dad's might have been from the taxotere). I suspect I survived only because I'm relatively young (late 40s).
Again, I'm sorry for your loss.

Posts: 11

thank u so much for sharing ur story with me wish u always a good and healthy life , i guess with this disease we can't predict what will happen next , i'm wondering if there was any suspect of embolism why they didn't gave him something to treat it,when i asked this question to the onco he told me ,med that treat embolism like heparin can cause another serious problem a hemorragy , i guess the answer didn't convince me , how is that ,.is it possible that they couldn't treat the embolism ???

Posts: 635

You've already stated that the doctor was just guessing it was a pulmonary embolism and there's no way to know without an autopsy. Here they give the family the option of having an autopsy done. With my mother we declined as we knew no matter what it was, it was all caused from the LC. With LC you can be fine one day and in ICU the next. There's no time frame on how quickly we can go down from LC. I'm sorry for your loss and hope you'll find comfort some day. Take care, Judy