Jul 27, 2016 - 10:00 AM
The final stages of life can be unpredictable, as you seem to have already noticed. But in the case of a frail geriatric person like your relative, if he stops eating or drinking (and is not receiving IV fluids), death usually comes within two weeks as the kidneys shut down. But in my experience, once the individual loses consciousness, death typically occurs in one to three days at most. Morphine is not meant to hasten death, but to relieve physical pain and also the mental anguish that comes as breathing becomes more shallow. In your situation, I would think hours or days, not weeks. But that’s still an estimate – as I haven’t seen the patient, of course. I hope this has been helpful, and that your loved one has a peaceful passing in the presence of friends and family.