UK doctors breach guidance on persistent vegetative state

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 22 February 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:535
  1. Kathryn Godfrey
  1. London

    Doctors' views on the management of patients in a persistent vegetative state conflict with official guidelines, says a report published last week.

    The report, produced by the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics, King's College, London, is the first large scale survey of the views of UK doctors on this subject. Of the 1882 consultants in neurosurgery, neurology, orthopaedic surgery, and rehabilitation medicine who were contacted, 1027 replied.

    The results showed that over 90% of doctors who replied said that it can be appropriate not to treat acute infections and life threatening conditions in patients in a persistent vegetative state. Almost three quarters said that it was sometimes appropriate to withdraw artificial …

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