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Medical futility

Aart Osinski, Gerard Vreugdenhil, Jan de Koning, Johannes G van der Hoeven
Discussing do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders is part of daily hospital practice in oncology departments. Several medical factors and patient characteristics are associated with issuing DNR orders in cancer patients. DNR orders are often placed late in the disease process. This may be a cause for disagreements between doctors and between doctors and patients and may cause for unnecessary treatments and admissions. In addition, DNR orders on itself may influence the rest of the medical treatment for patients. We present recommendations for discussing DNR orders and medical futility in practice through shared decision-making...
October 22, 2016: Supportive Care in Cancer: Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
Magnolia Cardona-Morrell, Amanda Chapman, Robin M Turner, Ebony Lewis, Blanca Gallego-Luxan, Michael Parr, Ken Hillman
AIM: To investigate associations between clinical parameters - beyond the evident physiological deterioration and limitations of medical treatment - with in-hospital death for patients receiving Rapid Response System (RRS) attendances. METHODS: Retrospective case-control analysis of clinical parameters for 328 patients aged 60 years and above at their last RRS call during admission to a single teaching hospital in the 2012-2013 calendar years. Generalised estimating equation modelling was used to compare the deceased with a randomly selected sample of those who had RRS calls and survived admission (controls), matched by age group, sex, and hospital ward...
October 18, 2016: Resuscitation
Amber Mills, Anne Walker, Michele Levinson, Alison M Hutchinson, Gemma Stephenson, Anthea Gellie, George Heriot, Harvey Newnham, Megan Robertson
OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of resuscitation orders and Advance Care Plans, and the relationship with Medical Emergency Team (MET) calls. METHOD: A point prevalence review of patient records at five Victorian hospital services. RESULTS: One thousand nine hundred and thirty-four patient records were reviewed, and 230 resuscitation orders and 15 Advance Care Plans found. Significantly, more resuscitation orders were found at public hospitals...
October 19, 2016: Australasian Journal on Ageing
Susan B Williams, Michael D Dahnke
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is temporary life-support technology that provides time to rest the cardiac and respiratory system of critically ill people with acute, reversible medical conditions. Health care providers face emotional and challenging situations, where death may result, when withdrawing ECMO. A deepening of understanding of the ethical issues involved can aid clinicians in handling such difficult situations, leading to a possible mitigation of the moral problems. Toward this end, the ethical issues raised in the consideration of ECMO withdrawal are analyzed with respect to the ethical principles and concepts of autonomy, nonmaleficence/beneficence, medical futility, moral distress, and justice...
October 2016: Critical Care Nurse
C Rehmann-Sutter, H Lehnert
BACKGROUND: The aim of palliative medicine is to adequately care for and attend to patients suffering from life-threatening and incurable medical conditions according to their needs. This implies that for these patients it is not a matter of dealing with diseases that can be treated separately but with their existence in the face of their approaching death. OBJECTIVE: This article investigates which ethical questions are currently prioritized for discussion in palliative medicine...
October 2016: Der Internist
Michele Goodwin
This special issue of the Journal Law, Medicine & Ethics takes up the concern of informed consent, particularly in times of controversy. The dominant moral dilemmas that frame traditional bioethical concerns address medical experimentation on vulnerable subjects; physicians assisting their patients in suicide or euthanasia; scarce resource allocation and medical futility; human trials to develop drugs; organ and tissue donation; cloning; xenotransplantation; abortion; human enhancement; mandatory vaccination; and much more...
September 2016: Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics: a Journal of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics
Cornelis G Vos, Jean-Paul P M de Vries, Debora A B Werson, Eric P A van Dongen, Michiel A Schreve, Çağdaş Ünlü
BACKGROUND: Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms (RAAAs) are associated with a high overall mortality (up to 25% to 35%) ≤30 days when offered surgical treatment. Risk prediction models can provide valuable information on surgical risks, guide clinical decision making, and help identify patients who should not be operated on to prevent futile surgery. Finally, they can be used to evaluate clinical outcome. Different aneurysm scores are available. New ones (with only four parameters) are being developed, such as the Dutch Aneurysm Score (DAS)...
August 26, 2016: Journal of Vascular Surgery
Brian D Leland, Alexia M Torke, Lucia D Wocial, Paul R Helft
Futility disputes in the intensive care unit setting have received significant attention in the literature over the past several years. Although the idea of improving communication in an attempt to resolve these challenging situations has been regularly discussed, the concept and role of trust building as the means by which communication improves and disputes are best navigated is largely absent. We take this opportunity to review the current literature on futility disputes and argue the important role of broken trust in these encounters, highlighting current evidence establishing the necessity and utility of trust in both medical decision-making and effective communication...
August 27, 2016: Journal of Intensive Care Medicine
Thomas R Scaggs, David M Glass, Megan Gleason Hutchcraft, William B Weir
Excited delirium syndrome (ExDS) is defined by marked agitation and confusion with sympathomimetic surge and incessant physical struggle, despite futility, which may lead to profound pathophysiologic changes and sudden death. Severe metabolic derangements, including lactic acidosis, rhabdomyolysis, and hyperthermia, occur. The pathophysiology of excited delirium is a subject of ongoing basic science and clinical research. Positive associations with ExDS include male gender, mental health disorders, and substance abuse (especially sympathomimetics)...
October 2016: Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Samar Noureddine, Tamar Avedissian, Hussain Isma'eel, Mazen J El Sayed
BACKGROUND: The survival rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) victims in Lebanon is low. A national policy on resuscitation practice is lacking. This survey explored the practices of emergency physicians related to the resuscitation of OHCA victims in Lebanon. METHODS: A sample of 705 physicians working in emergency departments (EDs) was recruited and surveyed using the LimeSurvey software (Carsten Schmitz, Germany). Seventy-five participants responded, yielding 10...
July 2016: Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
Liliana Oliveira, Marta Oliveira Ferreira, Alexandre Rola, Miguel Magalhães, José Ferraz Gonçalves
In palliative care, drugs are considered futile if they do not have a short-term benefit in symptom control or quality of life. The authors examined pharmacotherapy prescribed for patients referred to palliative care to identify futile drugs. This was a retrospective analysis of patients referred over 6 months, focusing on the prescription of gastric protectants, antidiabetic agents, bisphosphonates, anticoagulants, antidementia drugs, statins, and antihypertensive agents. The sample consisted of 448 patients...
September 2016: Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy
Ami V Patel, Richard J Ackermann
Competence is determined by a court of law, whereas physicians determine medical decision-making capacity (DMC). When patients lack DMC, a surrogate should be identified to make decisions. Ideally, patients will have created a durable power of attorney for health care. If a patient did not do this, state statutes specify which individuals can serve as surrogates; a current spouse typically is the first choice. Ideally, surrogates should use substituted judgment in making decisions. If this is not possible because the patient never shared end-of-life wishes with the surrogate, the surrogate can make decisions that, in the surrogate's opinion, are in the patient's best interests or that a reasonable individual would make...
August 2016: FP Essentials
Jason P Stopyra, Cheryl Courage, Christopher A Davis, Brian C Hiestand, Robert D Nelson, James E Winslow
BACKGROUND: More than 300,000 persons in the United States experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest every year. The American Heart Association emphasizes on the rapid, effective delivery of cardiac arrest interventions by bystanders and emergency medical services (EMS) on scene. In July 2013, the EMS of Randolph County, a rural county in central North Carolina, implemented a team-focused cardiopulmonary resuscitation(CPR) protocol. The protocol emphasized early chest compressions and resuscitation on scene until the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) or until efforts were deemed futile...
September 2016: Critical Pathways in Cardiology
Brent T Xia, David A Habib, Vikrom K Dhar, Nick C Levinsky, Young Kim, Dennis J Hanseman, Jeffrey M Sutton, Gregory C Wilson, Milton Smith, Kyuran Ann Choe, Jeffrey J Sussman, Syed A Ahmad, Daniel E Abbott
BACKGROUND: Sequencing therapy for patients with periampullary malignancy is controversial. Clinical trial data report high rates of adjuvant therapy completion, though contemporary, real-world rates remain incomplete. We sought to identify patients who failed to receive adjuvant therapy and those at risk for early recurrence (ER) who might benefit most from neoadjuvant therapy (NT). METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed medical records of 201 patients who underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy for periampullary malignancies between 1999 and 2015; patients receiving NT were excluded...
July 26, 2016: Annals of Surgical Oncology
Vicki C McLawhorn, Joy Vess, Bonnie P Dumas
BACKGROUND: Many patients with incurable cancer do not accurately understand their prognosis, which can lead to aggressive and, often, futile treatment. Improved prognostic awareness can help patients to appropriately de-escalate aggressive treatment sooner in an illness trajectory. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this article is to introduce a patient-initiated discussion aid (question prompt list) on an oncology unit to increase prognostic awareness by promoting patient-provider dialogue, which could lead to limitation of life-sustaining treatments at the end of life and increased do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders and hospice referrals...
August 1, 2016: Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing
Sung Ae Kwon, Stacey Kolomer
As ethical issues arise concerning the continuation of futile medical treatment for dying patients in Korean society, advance directive planning initiatives have been put into place to guide practice. This article describes the awareness and attitudes of social workers in Korea regarding advance care planning and related factors. A total of 246 gerontological/geriatric social workers completed a mailed or in-person survey regarding awareness and attitudes toward advance care planning. Seventy-three percent (n = 180) of the participants reported no knowledge of advance directives...
August 2016: Social Work in Health Care
Patricia Westmoreland, Phillip S Mehler
Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental illness with a high mortality rate. The body image distortion inherent to this disorder and the impaired judgment and cognition due to malnutrition frequently result in patients refusing treatment. Treatment is most effective if patients are treated early in the course of their illness and undergo a full course of treatment. Involuntary treatment may therefore be both life-saving and critical to recovery. Between April 2012 and March 2016, 109 patients (5.2% of patients admitted to the Eating Recovery Center in Denver, CO) were certified, 39% of whom were transferred from the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders at Denver Health Medical Center...
July 2016: Journal of Psychiatric Practice
Sameera Karnik, Amar Kanekar
End-of-life care decision making carries paramount importance due to the advancements in medical sciences. Since medical science has evolved over the time and now has a potentiality to reshape the circumstances during death and in turn prolong lives, various ethical issues surround end-of-life care. The purpose of this narrative review is to discuss issues such as autonomous decision making, importance of advance directives, rationing of care in futile treatments and costs involved in providing end-of-life care...
2016: Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland)
Nicholas D Schiff, Joseph J Fins
While often confused by non-medical specialists, brain death and disorders of consciousness such as coma, vegetative state, and minimally conscious state are clearly distinct and unambiguously distinguishable. Moreover, biological models underpin each category uniquely and with increasing precision. In this Primer, we frame the distinctions across the different conditions, point to recent work that advances measurements able to identify their differences, and explain two inter-related paradoxes. The first paradox is the brain dead patient whose 'phenotype' betrays the ultimate futility and lack of sustainability of the state...
July 11, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Simon Buttrick, Kristy OʼPhelan, Kenneth Goodman, Ronald Jay Benveniste
INTRODUCTION: Our health care system spends a significant amount of resources on futile care, ie, continued medical therapy when there is no reasonable hope of cure or benefit. Nowhere is this more evident than in the neuroscience intensive care unit (NSICU), because intensive care medicine has become exceedingly proficient at maintaining cardiopulmonary function even in the face of catastrophic brain injury. METHODS: We identified patients who were admitted to the NSICU with partial loss of brainstem reflexes even after initial stabilization...
August 2016: Neurosurgery
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