Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Hospices and CPR guidelines

Sudden and unexpected death in a palliative care unit

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 09 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2343
  1. Andrew Wilcock, Macmillan reader in palliative medicine and medical oncology1,
  2. Vincent Crosby, consultant physician1
  1. 1Hayward House Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Unit, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, City Hospital Campus, Nottingham NG5 1PB
  1. andrew.wilcock{at}

    The mode of death in specialist palliative care units or hospices could inform discussions on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).1 2 We recently analysed 100 consecutive deaths in our 20 bed unit. All patients had cancer, and the deaths represented half of the 197 admissions over 24 weeks. Mode of death was categorised pragmatically at weekly multidisciplinary team meetings as gradual and expected (an expected death …

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