Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews Acute Perspective

David Oliver: Why I’m changing my mind about resuscitation

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 07 March 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j1143
  1. David Oliver, consultant in geriatrics and acute general medicine
  1. Berkshire
  1. davidoliver372{at}

I’ve written before about planning end of life care,1 pragmatism in decisions regarding “do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation” (DNACPR), and possible dissonance between legal rulings and clinicians’ daily realities.2 I’ve called for more measured media reporting and said that dying people need protection from undignified, distressing medicalised intervention.13

My columns and others on DNACPR have elicited many responses,45 notably from Kate Masters,67 whose father’s action led to the Tracey judgment. Kate has been contacted by many families with similar stories.

A memorable letter described resuscitation as “the routine, institutionalised electrocution and torture …

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