Was browsing recently at the local bookshop when the April 11 issue of the National Enquirer caught my eye:
Liz Taylor passed away March 23rd at the age of 79 at the famed Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles. The Hollywood legend, noted for her 8 marriages, had reportedly been hospitalised over a 100 times in her life ,for various problems including diabetes,a brain tumour, stroke and had had both of her hips replaced.
Apparently, six months before she passed away, doctors wanted to perform bypass surgery and heart-valve replacement on her heart as it had badly leaking valves which had resulted in her heart-size grossly ballooning out (what doctors call congestive cardiomyopathy). It was reported that the actress declined surgery as she could no longer find the will to fight.
Experts believe her decision to forego surgery may have led to her earlier demise, as in the 6 weeks prior to her death, she lost weight drastically (doctors call this cardiac cachexia) to a mere 94 pounds (42.7 kg) and became so weak that she had to use a respirator. Towards the end, her heart had stopped twice and a cardiac defibrillator had to be used to restore the heart-beat.
Hospital doctors working in the ICU setting will be familiar with this setting..at the end of the day, the patient will rightly be the one to decide on what healthcare decision to take, despite the medical teams’ best intentions.
A medical mistake? I’m not sure Liz Taylor made one..she loved life and hated no longer being able to enjoy it. She probably just lost the will to live..