My best friend died from COPD

By ferrari12395 Latest Activity May 26 at 1:57 pm Views 1,585 Replies 4


I am currently grieving the death of my best friend from COPD who was 60 years old. She lived in Kingman, AZ, US.

Certain questions regarding her death remain unanswered and I hope you could help me answer.

She was diagnosed with emphysema few years back and she quit smoking. She had been doing well but for past one year she would sleep a lot, sometimes would hallucinate, developed high blood pressure and suffered bouts of depression, all of which pointed to progressing COPD.

In feb she fell ill and was found to have severe pneumonia, pulmonary embolism and clots in her legs. She was put on ventilator but got off of it and was doing better now. She was sent to a rehab where initially she was on 3 liters of oxygen which was reduced to 1 liter by the end. Her blood pressure would fluctuate every now and then, and her oxygen levels also needed readjustment.

After coming off the ventilator, she could not even get up on her own, but now she was able to walk using a walker . Though before this incident, she could walk fine.

On 25th last month she was sent home from rehab and the oxygen was removed as according to them it was no longer required. A day before, they performed a short test by removing oxygen and her oxygen level remained stable. Oxygen was put back on. I believe this test was highly flawed and she constantly needed oxygen. Anyway, she was sent home without the oxygen. She was well at the time of leaving and we talked fine. She was supposed to call me right after reaching home but I never got a call. After 4 hours I called 911 and she was found dead on the floor.

Medical examiner's report says that at 8:30 her body was warm and rigor had not set in. She had collapsed at 3:30. Cause of death is mentioned only as COPD.

My question is- how did she most likely died? And could it have been quick or a long process as at 8:30 her body was still warm?

What I fear is that if it was asphyxiation, it might have been a long and painful process as even though her oxygen levels would have dropped, they might not have dropped too much to cause an immediate death.

Someone suggested that it could have been a cardiac arrest, stroke or pulmonary embolism arising from blood clot. But why it doesnt make much sense to me is that if either of these had been the case, she would have died around 3:30 then how could her body be still warm at 8:30. Secondly, i strongly believe it had to do with oxygen being removed as that was the only different thing than at the time of death and past three moenths when she was in hospital on oxygen

Also, had she not died, what approximately could her life expectancy have been?

Kindly provide your views and if anything is expected from me, kindly let me know.

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Replies (4 replies)

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  • Dr Gary
    Dr GaryCA September 13 at 1:39 pm   

    Hi Ferrari, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your good friend. It is so hard to lose someone we care about. And I am sorry you are left with so many questions. I encourage you to get some support. It could really help to sit down and talk with a grief counselor. The more you talk about your loss, the better. And I hope you are able to get some answers that can help you to cope and heal. Please keep in touch with us and let us know how you're doing.

  • mizdoc
    mizdoc August 14 at 5:33 pm   

    She was extremely lucky to have you for a friend. You sound very interested and supportive. I know that sometimes death comes out of the blue. My own mother was in hospital and I spoke to her that morning she was being released and she was so happy to be going home. Half an hour later the nurse came in and she was gone, passed away. Perhaps your friend had just lay down for a rest, and went to sleep and never woke up. I would try to think of her passing as that way. I think if she was having trouble breathing she would have called 911 and they would have responded quickly. They do where I live. And there are so many unanswered questions that nobody has an answer for yet. So don't beat yourself up trying to figure out the whys about COPD. You were a good, caring friend to her and you made a difference in her life.

  • oldrelic
    oldrelic July 1 at 1:12 pm   

    I am sorry for the loss of your best friend. She was lucky to have you in her life. You appear to be a very caring person. God bless

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