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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Critical Care Perspective The Pressure to Withhold or Withdraw Life-sustaining Therapy from Critically Ill Patients in the United States

"Physicians and nurses sometimes exert pressure on the families of critically ill patients to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining therapy from them. This pressure may stem from prognostic, professional, social, and economic factors. Although the pressure to limit life support may be appropriate in some circumstances, in others it is not justified. The pressure also may damage communications and cause resentment. If communications cannot be improved, and if the pressure cannot be relieved, a due process approach to conflict resolution that involves other parties may be required."
Critical Care Perspective

The Pressure to Withhold or Withdraw Life-sustaining Therapy from Critically Ill Patients in the United States
John M. Luce1,2 and Douglas B. White2

1 Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, and 2 University of California, San Francisco, California