Side effects of taking away patients fluids

Dr Gillian Craig (No Water – No Life. Hydration in the Dying) lists here the consequence and symptoms of dehydration

  • Confusion and restlessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Impaired speech
  • Thirst
  • Increased risk of bed sores
  • Circulatory failure
  • Renal failure, hyperkalaemenia (high levels of potassium in the blood), cardiac arrest.
  • Rise in opiod metabolites:
  • Opioid – drug such as morphine that will ease pain, pain that actually could be caused through lack of fluid, the effect of the drug happens quicker because of the lack of fluid.
  • Metabolites – the chemical in morphine (etc) processed quickly making the effect more pronounced or stronger.
  • This effect can cause confusion, constipation, nausea, myoclonus (sudden abrupt jerk-like contractions), and seizures.


Also from: The Life Resources Charitable Trust – all, or any of the following are possible for a patient to suffer from..

  • Mouth dries out and becomes caked or coated with thick material
  • Lips become parched and cracked
  • Eyes recede back into their sockets
  • Cheeks become hollow
  • Lining of the nose might crack and cause the nose to bleed
  • Skin hangs loose on the body and becomes dry and scaly
  • Urine becomes highly concentrated, leading to burning of the bladder
  • Lining of the stomach dries out and he or she experiences dry heaves and vomiting
  • Body temperature becomes elevated
  • Brain cells dry out causing convulsions
  • Respiratory tract dries out, and the resulting thick secretions can plug the lungs and cause death


Here is a personal story from Dr. Brian Livesley, Emeritus Professor in the Care of the Elderly, Imperial College School of Medicine, London University.

There was, however, scarcely a second before a loud piercing scream cried for attention. As I turned into the main part of the ward I saw that my father-in-law’s intravenous fluids had been stopped; his urinary catheter unexpectedly removed; and a prominent ‘nil by mouth’ notice had appeared at his bedside. His scream was due to the pain of attempting to pass concentrated and infected urine while he was left unattended.”

British Journal of Healthcare Management 2013. Vol 19 No2

Take a look at WHAT THE PEOPLE SAY and sadly you will find that many others have experienced similar fates.