How long does it take to die?

Iowahawkfans Member Posts: 12
Hello all -

My mom has been in a hospice facility since december 6th. She has struggled with cancer for the last 16 months and she has steadly declined. Her last diagnoses was carcinomatosis which they gave her six months to live. We are at six weeks. She stopped eating on december 18th and has had no measurable liquids since the 20th other than liquid morphine and her pain medicine through her port. she has been close to death twice this past week but she has held on.

I have said good bye to her more times than I can count. All of her children have said it is ok for her to go. She has been so strong for so long! I just really don't understand how she is doing this.

Hospice has termed her as actively dying now. her vitals are all over the map and she doesn't really even know we are there with her anymore. so my question is this, how long is the longest someone has gone before actually dying without food and water?



  • Barbara53
    Barbara53 Member Posts: 652
    what I know
    The hospice literature we have says 8 days after no food, 5 days after no water, with caveats for up to 5 days of actively dying. Then again, so much depends on the cancer and which organs are affected. My mother is actively dying from ovarian mets to soft tissues, organs and lungs, and her lymph nodes are shot. Man, has she fought it! Now she says she's ready to go, so please give her more of that nice valium with her morphine.

    Good luck with the hours ahead. For our family it has been a three-year struggle, and we are so tired and ready to get back to life the way it used to be, though sadly without Mom.
  • grandmafay
    grandmafay Member Posts: 1,633 Member
    We are all individuals and we die as individuals. Although hospice can give you an estimate or what's usual, they can only predict. My husband took in fluids until the day before he died. The hospice nurse told me it could be days or it could be hours, but she didn't think it would be hours because he had so many fluids. It was hours. It is hard to watch our loved ones losing their independence, their mobility, their lives. Just take things as they come as hard as that is. My thoughts are with you. Fay
  • KLScoville
    KLScoville Member Posts: 161 Member
    Just to let you know
    My husband lasted a month without food or water. Not a reasonable amount anyways. He held on...don't also know what he was waiting for. I gave him permission to "go home" but he went when God decided. Which was November 14th, 2011. He struggled the time when he was about to go but he held on for "something". Never will know why, he didn't know why (I asked).

    I wish that he never left me. I miss Mark so much.

    Thanks for listening.

    wife of Mark Scoville RIP 11/14/11 Stage IV nsclc with mets.