Commonly Asked Questions About Death

Do most patients admitted to the ICU die before leaving it?

Some people mistakenly think that admission to the ICU almost always means the patient is so critically ill or injured that death will come soon. On the contrary, generally between 80-95% of patients admitted to an ICU survive.

Is dying painful?

The body protects itself from too much pain and suffering. Based on information from people who have had near death experiences, we do not believe that death is painful. The ICU doctors and nurses can help insure that the physical pain is eliminated. We encourage you to talk with them about how to ease your loved one's last hours.

What should be done if a loved one dies?

Family members often wish to spend a few moments at the bedside following a loved one's death. This is perfectly understandable and accepted practice. Remember to take all the deceased's belongings home. The ICU staff will help your family with this. One of the family members will need to contact a mortuary (funeral home) and inform the hospital to release the deceased's body to it.

How long should the family remain with the deceased?

Your family will likely be much more comfortable at home and should stay in the hospital only as long as necessary to spend time at the bedside, briefly visit with the doctors and nurses, and collect the deceased's belongings.