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Uncle in ICU says he wants to die. Is it the drugs talking?

Uncle had a suspected heart attack (Still not 100% confirmed) after undergoing routine surgery to remove a vascular blockage in his groin. Next day he was fine on the ward and then in the early hours he apparently collapsed and has been on a ventilator and heavily sedated in ICU. He is slowly coming round now and his breathing for himself again, but is mouthing that he is dying and please let him die. This is extremely upsetting for my mum (his sister) and myself, does he mean it or is he just confused?? I just hope he is not in any pain, he keeps trying to pull his tracheostomy out. thank you for any advice.

5 Replies

So sorry to hear about your uncle, stan.

I was an ICU patient myself and I've been told that I pulled out all of my tubes and had to be intubated four times. My notes say I was crying out with pain and I've been told of things I said to my family and visitors that I could never imagine saying however I have absolutely no memory of any of this.

Although every patient's experience is different, I hope this is of some comfort and that your uncle's condition improves soon.


thank you so much for your quick response peter, that is comforting and i hope that he is the same and doesn't remember this stage later or feel any pain now. This site has been a real comfort to me over the past couple of days and has given me so much information that i can pass on and is bringing comfort to my mum at this difficult time.

He is an amazing man and a true character, we are praying every minute for his full recovery. thank you again for your help.


When I was in ICU I wanted to die, I tried to will my heart to stop beating. I couldn't speak because I was on a ventilator , but the doctor says I kept staring into his eyes and making wrist slashing signs. I think it's quite common for people in ICU to feel that way. But it doesn't last long, and as he feels better he'll be very glad they kept him alive.


thanks for your response, his recovery has been unbelievable, he is now out of ICU and back at home, a week and one day after being initially admitted. It really is a miracle how quickly he has responded to treatment. he said the dreams were so vivid, he really did want to die just to make them stop. he now says that he's glad he didn't die and thank goodness he's back home. thank you for your advice.


Hello to everyone,

I am the uncle my niece wrote about.

Your responses to her question helped her and my sister greatly to understand what was happening and i thank you all.

If it might be of help to others i will give a brief account of my experience.

Although i may have mouthed the words i want to die that is not the actual experience.

From the moment i opened my eyes it was a waking nightmare.

What i saw were nurses and doctors sort of floating across the ward then dissapearing only to reappear over and over again doing the same thing, there faces and bodies were "not real" more like dolls faces.

everyone of them who came to speak to me said excactly the same thhing over and over again.

At that point i was totaly convinced i was dead and was stuck in some terrible limbo for eternity.

I told my sister and neice i was dead and didn't think they or anyone else was real.

That together with horrendous sleeping nightmares lasted for two whole days until all the drugs the had given me had worn off.

I am recovered now with no nightmares or delusions but i can honestly say they were the worst two days of my life and pray nobody else would have to experience this.

Once again thanks for all your help.




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