I have had a patient's family come to me with help on how to baptise(fully immerse) a patient that has a vent/trach. Any suggestions?
Very interesting question. By no means do we want to digress into a theological forum so if possible please do not take this in that direction and if my initial suggestion is out of the question for the individual receiving the sacrament then so be it but lets avoid the spiritual pluses and minuses of the different types of baptism. With that said my initial thought is: is there any way sprinkling or pouring would be acceptable? That would be safest if so. If there is no way that will do, I would suggest a significant amount of rehearsal doing dry runs using a team to monitor and assist until the event can be planned and accomplished smoothly with as many contingencies worked out for safety as possible. A vent circuit attached to a trach with the cuff up will provide a closed system that with a closed mouth and nose immersed for a second or two should not allow much water into the airways. If a ICU nurse or respiratory therapist can attend and assist or even direct the steps that would be a good idea, but no matter how well planned and executed there will be risk that everyone needs to recognize and weigh against the benefits. Water in the baptistery may be holy, but I doubt is it sterile, so infection of stoma, and if water makes it into the lungs by accident then pneumonia or drowning are risks. The patient might panic in the middle and cause any number of problems such as decannulation or disconnection. I am sure it is easy to get the picture of possible problems that might arise. So consider the options. If there is not any other way please use every conceivable caution. A prolonged ICU stay or death due to the need to strictly adhere to a ritual that is physically symbolic of something that many consider to happen in reality on a spiritual level is worth it only if the patient his family and his clergy are totally sure there is absolutely no other way to accomplish the same result with less physical risk. Please let us know what is decided. If full immersion is done, please let us know how it goes.
My name is Adrian. I am a pastor and RN. We have had a request from my quadriplegic and trached friend for him to be baptized via immersion this sunday.
Did this work for you guys?
How did you do it?
If you have a moment to call me, please do. I would love to see his wish granted, but of course am very concerned with the risk.
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