There was an amazing piece on the Radiolab podcast this week (Jan 15, 2013) on perceptions of end-of-life care. This is an issue that we face in the Emergency Department as we see many patients who present in their last minutes. This may be an acute exacerbation of a chronically ill person or an acutely injured patient.
Our instinct and training is to “do something,” so it is hard to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. Sometimes the family or patient can give us an indication of what their wishes are. Sometimes we are faced with the decision of discontinuing a resuscitation which may be pointless.
Listen to the podcast and feel free to comment below. There are no right or wrong answers, just a discussion. Let me know what you feel about it.
Article: End of Life Issues in the Acute and Critically Ill Patient
Blog post from doctor mentioned in podcast: How doctors die
An excellent discussion on end of life care.. well worth a listen! I always find it helpful in discussions with patients and families to include the referenced numbers for survival after CPR – 8% alive at 30 days, 3% ‘meaningful’ function. As they point out patients and families often have unrealistic expectations for CPR success.