Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 08 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3598

A retrospective study in a Canadian hospital reported that iatrogenic adverse incidents were common in the coronary care unit, especially bleeding, which was more common than recurrent ischaemic events (Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 2009; published online 18 August, doi:10.1161/circoutcomes.108.846493). 194 patients were included in the study. Of the patients who had died in hospital, 53% had sustained an iatrogenic adverse event which was causally linked to their death, and 6% of these were judged potentially preventable.

In the Netherlands, doctors must be convinced of unbearable and hopeless suffering before granting a request for euthanasia. But when non-physical aspects of suffering are central to the issue, GPs, consultants, and euthanasia review committees seem to differ in their judgment. Presented with such a case scenario, GPs were less likely to deem the patient’s suffering unbearable than were consultants and committee members. The suffering of patients with dementia and those who were “tired of living” were least often considered to be unbearable by …

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