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Dutch doctors withhold and withdraw treatment in many elderly patients, study finds

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2095 (Published 21 April 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2095
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1The BMJ

Doctors in the Netherlands withhold and withdraw treatment in a substantial proportion of elderly patients largely for reasons of patient comfort and to avoid futile treatment, research published in the Journal of Medical Ethics has found.1

The researchers wanted to find out whether the incidence of withholding or withdrawing treatment before death differed among different age groups and how these decisions were made. They looked at a sample of deaths that occurred from August to November 2010 and stratified them according to whether decisions about the …

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