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Surgeons carry out too many operations on dying patients

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 07 November 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1269
  1. Annabel Ferriman
  1. BMJ

    Surgeons are performing too many “inappropriate and aggressive” operations on patients who are frail or terminally ill, the latest report from the national confidential inquiry into perioperative deaths says.

    “It is a surgical skill to recognise when surgery will be too adventurous, ill advised, or futile, given the condition of the patient,” says Mr Ron Hoile, consultant surgeon at the Medway NHS Trust, Kent, and the inquiry's principal clinical coordinator for surgery.

    “It is difficult to resist pressure to operate, whether this comes from the patient, relatives, or medical …

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