An unmerciful end

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7321.1131 (Published 10 November 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1131

Decisions not to resuscitate must not be left to junior doctors

  1. Lesley Fallowfield, director (L.Fallowfield@biols.susx.ac.uk)
  1. CRC Psychosocial Oncology Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QG
  2. Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol BS10 5NB

    EDITOR—Soper's harrowing description of an elderly woman's “unmerciful end” after cardiopulmonary resuscitation by a team of paramedics raises many ethical issues about what constitutes a dignified, natural death.1

    My research group runs training courses in communication skills for healthcare professionals working in oncology. We have been dismayed by the number of specialist registrars and senior house officers working at a large, famous cancer institution who have asked us recently for help about discussing “do not resuscitate” decisions with patients who are dying. The BMA guidelines recommend that consultants should have ultimate responsibility for this onerous and …

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