Views And Reviews

The rususcitation game

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 14 May 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1306
  1. L Doyal

    Few doctors now openly reject the right of patients to consent to invasive treatment on the basis of accurate information about prognosis, side effects, and alternative therapies. If competent patients refuse lifesaving treatments which are deemed to be in their best medical interest then so be it. Any attempt to force treatment on patients is an unwarranted moral and legal intrusion on their autonomy.

    Yet in one area of clinical care, a pervading silence surrounds the issue of informed consent - cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Confusion can exist between clinicians, nurses, patients, and families about resuscitation status. Equally, the decision not to resuscitate competent patients - a DNR order - is sometimes made without their consent. This is partly due to lack of clinical experience in how to communicate …

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