Intended for healthcare professionals


Brain stem death

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 09 September 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:635

Patients' interests should predominate

  1. Ruth Deroy, senior registrar in anaesthesia (
  1. Norfolk and Norwich Health Care NHS Trust, Norwich NR1 3SR
  2. Jersey General Hospital, St Helier, Jersey JE2 3QS

    EDITOR—Although Inwald et al describe how consensus and sensitivity have helped a family and staff concerned to live through a difficult and sad time, I take issue with two points they raise.1

    I agree with their statement that families should not be pressurised into consenting to withdrawal of care and should not be asked to become accessories to murder. It is an unfair burden to put on any family member to share responsibility in a decision to withdraw treatment, and there is no need for it. Medical treatment or the cessation of it should be guided by evidence of its effectiveness and society's acceptance of its desirability in general (as society bears …

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