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Procedures on dying patients are wrong, study concludes

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7228.137 (Published 15 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:137
  1. James Ciment
  1. New York

    The practice of allowing trainee doctors to acquire skills by carrying out procedures on dying patients has been challenged by doctors in the United States, who claim that it is an unacceptable departure from the normal system of requiring informed consent. Moreover, many trainee doctors themselves are opposed to carrying out certain of the procedures, the doctors say.

    The authors of the study, whose results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (1999;341:2088-91), asked 234 trainee doctors in Conncticut to consider the following scenario: an elderly inpatient is receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation; after 20 minutes there is no response from the patient, who seems to be dying. The doctors were asked whether they felt it was ever appropriate in such a situation for a …

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