At the coalface--medical ethics in practice. Futility and death in paediatric medical intensive care
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Medical Ethics 22 (5):279-281 (1996)
We have conducted a retrospective study of deaths on a paediatric medical intensive care unit over a two-year period and reviewed similar series from outside the UK. There were 89 deaths out of 651 admission (13.7% mortality). In almost two-thirds of the cases death occurred with a decision to limit medical treatment or withdraw mechanical ventilation, implying that additional or further therapy was considered futile. We highlight this as a crucially important issue in the practice of intensive care. More comprehensive studies are needed to help clinicians derive consensus on what constitutes a futile intervention, and therefore when such an intervention should be withheld. This will help families and society better understand the limitations of intensive care
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J. Brierley, J. Linthicum & A. Petros (2013). Should Religious Beliefs Be Allowed to Stonewall a Secular Approach to Withdrawing and Withholding Treatment in Children? Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (9):573-577.
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