British Lung Foundation

Oxygen toxicity

My 88 year old dad is back in hospital for the 3rd time in 5 weeks with another exacerbation. He has become very weak. The doc explained to us that they don't seem to be able to get a balance between enough oxygen to keep his stats up and this causing carbondioxide retention and acidification of the blood. I think that is correct. He said this was 'incompatible with life'. My mother is pleased that he is more at peace than he was at home, less frightened. Her terrible fear has been that he would die gasping for breath and scared. He seems ready to go. The staff have stopped taking blood tests as they caused distress. We have been told visiting rules don't apply to us and someone can sit with dad whenever we want. There is not yet a side ward available but they are hoping to get him to one asap.

Is there only one outcome from this situation? Sometimes he is bright and lucid and his greatest worry is how will mum cope without him. Then he is tired again. Does this blood acidification ever get better? I don't want to hold out unrealistic hopes.

Sorry this is a ramble.

The one good thing that happened yesterday was that my 23 year old son came over from England to Belfast to see his grandad. I took mum for a cuppa at the cafeteria and left Alan with his grandad on the respiratory ward. He is a smoker and it scared him so much he has for the first time said he will quit.

4 Replies

I do feel for you, I was in a similar position when my father developed pneumonia after suffering a stroke, I lived some distance away and had breathing problems of my own

My father slept a lot, but when he was awake he worried about my mother who was partially sighted. My daughter would try and reassure him that she would be well looked after, so that his mind would be at rest.

I am sorry I cannot help with your O2 and CO2 query though.

I am glad that he is more peaceful in hospital, the staff there seem very caring.

Take care

1 like

Hi knitter, my name is Nadine, have they tried BIPAP? That can help blow off his CO2 which causes his pH to decrease and his is probably already a little on the lower side to begin with. But when they become exacerbated those numbers will be way off. And just to blow off some of that CO2 Will make him feel better and not so air hungry! I live across the pond in the US, Muskego WI. Before I became sick I worked as a Respiratory Therapist, so now I am not telling you what to do, I am just throwing out a suggestion. Especially since I don't know or have never met your Father. And I don't know the extent of his disease. Just trying to give you something to ask his MD about, and maybe make him feel more comfortable. I hope this helps, take care of yourself and your Mom, my thoughts and prayers are with you! Nadine 🌻


Hi I do feel for you. It sounds like he is tired of fighting which I can understand as my father was the same and it broke my heart.

One consolation though if he is in hospital he will not go gasping for breath as they will take care of that. There is a lot of emphasis these days on a 'peaceful death' and they say everyone deserves that.

I am thinking of you. Take care of yourself and stay strong. xx


I have been though similar with both my parents and my thoughts are with you and your family.


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