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TV dramas may raise false hope of surviving heart attack

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 24 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:408
  1. David Spurgeon
  1. Quebec

    Medical dramas on television, which may show survival rates from cardiopulmonary resuscitation 2-6 times higher than those in any reported study, are raising false expectations among relatives of a patient's chances of survival.

    In an attempt not to raise false hope, doctors should discuss the reality and enquire about expectations of families, say the authors of a study that reviewed all records of adult cardiopulmonary arrest that occurred between 1997 and 1999 at three main teaching hospitals in Edmonton, Alberta (CMAJ 2002;167:343-8).

    There were 247 arrests during the study period. Of the patients whose arrests were witnessed, nearly half were able to …

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