There is a concern that as a result of COVID-19 there will be a shortage of ventilators for patients requiring respiratory support. This concern has resulted in significant debate about whether it is appropriate to withdraw ventilation from one patient in order to provide it to another patient who may benefit more. The current advice available to doctors appears to be inconsistent, with some suggesting withdrawal of treatment is more serious than withholding, while others suggest that this distinction should not be made. We argue that there is no ethically relevant difference between withdrawing and withholding treatment and that suggesting otherwise may have problematic consequences. If doctors are discouraged from withdrawing treatment, concern about a future shortage may make them reluctant to provide ventilation to patients who are unlikely to have a successful outcome. This may result in underutilisation of available resources. A national policy is urgently required to provide doctors with guidance about how patients should be prioritised to ensure the maximum benefit is derived from limited resources.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its sequelae have created scenarios of scarce medical resources, leading to the prospect that healthcare systems have faced or will face difficult decisions about triage, allocation and reallocation. These decisions should be guided by ethical principles and values, should not be made before crisis standards have been declared by authorities, and, in most cases, will not be made by bedside clinicians. Do not attempt resuscitation (DNAR) and withholding and withdrawing decisions should be made according to standard determination of medical appropriateness and futility, but there are unique considerations during a pandemic. Transparent and clear communication is crucial, coupled with dedication to provide the best possible care to patients, including palliative care. As medical knowledge about COVID-19 grows, more will be known about prognostic factors that can guide these difficult decisions.
The current outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 has and continues to put huge pressure on intensive care units (ICUs) worldwide. Many patients with COVID-19 require some form of respiratory support and often have prolonged ICU stays, which results in a critical shortage of ICU beds. It is therefore not always physically possible to treat all the patients who require intensive care, raising major ethical dilemmas related to which patients should benefit from the limited resources and which should not. Here we consider some of the approaches to the acute shortages seen during this and other epidemics, including some guidelines for triaging ICU admissions and treatments.
Objectives: To map current practice regarding discussions around resuscitation across England and Scotland in patients with cancer admitted acutely to hospital and to demonstrate the value of medical students in rapidly collecting national audit data.
Methods: Collaborators from the Macmillan medical student network collected data from 251 patient encounters across eight hospitals in England and Scotland. Data were collected to identify whether discussion regarding resuscitation was documented as having taken place during inpatient admission to acute oncology. As an audit standard, it was expected that all patients should be invited to discuss resuscitation within 24 hr of admission.
Results: Resuscitation discussions were had in 43.1% of admissions and of these 64.0% were within 24 hr; 27.6% of all admissions. 6.5% of patients had a “do not attempt resuscitation” order prior to admission with a difference noted between patients receiving palliative and curative treatment (8.5% and 0.39%, respectively, p < .05). Discussions regarding escalation of care took place in only 29.3% of admissions.
Conclusions: These data highlight deficiencies in the number of discussions regarding resuscitation that are being conducted with cancer patients that become acutely unwell. It also demonstrates the value of medical student collaboration in rapidly collecting national audit data.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation of a patient with an uncertain resuscitation status, and a discharging implantable cardiac defibrillator, presents a significant ethical challenge to healthcare professionals in the emergency department. Presently, no literature discusses these challenges or their implications for ethical healthcare delivery. This report will discuss the issues that arose during the management of such a case and attempt to raise awareness among healthcare professionals to ensure better preparation for similar situations.
Purpose: Advance care planning is an important component of quality palliative care. In Asian countries, few randomized clinical trials have been reported. This pilot randomized-controlled trial examined the effects of brief nurse intervention with visual materials on the goal-of-care preference, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) preference, and designation of a health care proxy.
Methods: This randomized clinical trial was performed from January to February 2018 on elderly Japanese patients with chronic disease. The patients were randomly assigned to a control group (brief nurse intervention using verbal descriptions) or intervention group (using visual materials). The primary endpoint was goal-of-care preference, and secondary outcomes included the following: (1) CPR preference, (2) presence of a designated health care proxy, (3) knowledge of CPR, and (4) readiness for advance care planning. Outcome measures were obtained at baseline and just after completion of the intervention.
Results: A total of 220 patients were enrolled (117 in the intervention group and 103 in the control group). All patients completed post-intervention measurement. There was no significant difference between the groups in any of the outcome measures, while <5% of the participants wanted life-prolonging care as the goal of care at the baseline. Before/after comparisons indicated that, in both groups, the number of participants who designated a health care proxy significantly increased (29% to 65% vs. 22% to 52%, respectively; p < 0.001 each); and the knowledge and readiness scores significantly increased. Moreover, there was a significant increase in the number of patients who did not want CPR (55% to 67% with a terminal condition, p = 0.003; 67% to 80% with a bedridden condition, p < 0.001) in the intervention group.
Conclusions: Brief nurse intervention increased documentation of a patient-designated health care proxy and improved the knowledge of CPR and patient readiness. Visual materials might help patients to imagine the actual situation regarding CPR.
The first case of novel coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome–coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was reported in November 2019. The rapid progression to a global pandemic of COVID-19 has had profound medical, social, and economic consequences. Pregnant women and newborns represent a vulnerable population. However, the precise impact of this novel virus on the fetus and neonate remains uncertain. Appropriate protection of health care workers and newly born infants during and after delivery by a COVID-19 mother is essential. There is some disagreement among expert organizations on an optimal approach based on resource availability, surge volume, and potential risk of transmission. The manuscript outlines the precautions and steps to be taken before, during, and after resuscitation of a newborn born to a COVID-19 mother, including three optional variations of current standards involving shared-decision making with parents for perinatal management, resuscitation of the newborn, disposition, nutrition, and postdischarge care. The availability of resources may also drive the application of these guidelines. More evidence and research are needed to assess the risk of vertical and horizontal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its impact on fetal and neonatal outcomes.
Dr. Wakam: I’m 5 hours into my ICU shift at a community hospital in Detroit when the results of another arterial blood gas return. My patient has been hospitalized for 3 days and is Covid-19–positive. Over the past 12 hours, his treatment has progressed from intubation, to prone positioning on 100% fractional inspired oxygen, to medically induced paralysis, and finally to bilevel ventilation. The results from the arterial blood gas are dismal: pH 7.19, pCO2 70.1, pO2 63.7, HCO3 26.0. He has already experienced episodes of profound hypoxia when we try to rotate him into a supine position, and his heart has begun to show signs of strain, with periods of atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response and nonsustained runs of ventricular tachycardia. A request to transfer the patient for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is denied. It’s 11 p.m., and I’m worried that my patient won’t survive until morning.
[Début de l'article]
As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic intensifies, shortages of ventilators have occurred in Italy and are likely imminent in parts of the US. In ordinary clinical circumstances, all patients in need of
mechanical ventilation because of potentially-reversible conditions receive it, unless they or their surrogates decline. However, there are mounting concerns in many countries that this will not be possible and that patients
who otherwise would likely survive if they received ventilator support will die because no ventilator is available. In this type of public health emergency, the ethical obligation of physicians to prioritize the well-being of individual
patients may be overridden by public health policies that prioritize doing the greatest good for the greatest number of patients.These circumstances raise a critical question: when demand for ventilators and other intensive
treatments far outstrips the supply, what criteria should guide these rationing decisions?
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to severe shortages of many essential goods and services, from hand sanitizers and N-95 masks to ICU beds and ventilators. Although rationing is not unprecedented, never before has the American public been faced with the prospect of having to ration medical goods and services on this scale.
[Début de l'article]
OBJECTIVE: There is a lack of information about patients' attitudes towards and knowledge of resuscitation and advance care planning (ACP) in the palliative care unit (PCU). The aims of this study were to examine (a) patients' attitudes towards and knowledge of the topic of resuscitation, (b) patients' level of education about their illness and (c) their concept of ACP.
METHODS: This study used a qualitative methodology that involved semi-structured interviews with advanced cancer patients admitted to the PCU. Interviews were conducted during the first week after admission, recorded digitally and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed through content analysis using NVivo 12.
RESULTS: Eighteen interviews revealed the following themes: (a) ambivalence regarding preference for or refusal of resuscitation, (b) patient confidence concerning their level of education, (c) lack of information about ACP and (d) positive perception of the stay in the PCU. The data showed that a high percentage of PCU patients desired resuscitation even though education about their illness was mostly perceived as good. Many patients did not receive information about ACP. Patients perceived the stay in the PCU positively.
CONCLUSION: The study results reveal that there is lack of knowledge about ACP and resuscitation in patients in the PCU.
OBJECTIVE: Irish legislation on Advance Healthcare Directives (Assisted Decision Making Capacity Act 2015, ADMC) proposes to change the basis of decision making from acting in the patient's best interests to following the expressed will and intentions of the patient. Refusal of life-saving care can occur, without sound reasons. The implications for care in life-threatening emergencies have not been explored among clinicians.
DESIGN: An anonymous questionnaire survey of Advanced Paramedics (AP) covering awareness of the legislation, attitudes to and experience of refusal of care and potential actions in emergency scenarios now and if the legislation were in force. The scenarios covered end-of-life and deliberate self-harm situations potentially requiring resuscitation.
SETTING: All 482 graduates of the Advanced Paramedic Training Programme were invited to take part.
RESULTS: Overall, 85/389 (21.9%) valid contacts responded, with demographic characteristics similar to the overall population. Attitudes ranged from highly positive to highly negative in relation to the potential impact of the legislation on professional and operational responsibilities. Respondents described marked changes in whether they would offer resuscitation if the ADMC were in place.
CONCLUSION: Irish legislation which changes the traditional basis of medical practice away from the best interests of the patient may affect the resuscitation practices of Advanced Paramedics in life-threatening situations. It has significant implications for medical education, professional practice and clinician-patient interactions. This legislation and similar planned legislation may have implications for other EU jurisdictions.
Entrer dans un service de réanimation pédiatrique, c'est aller "dedans". Là-bas, on est dedans ou dehors, pas de nuance, pas d'entre-deux... a priori. De l'extérieur, les événements peuvent paraître tranchés, les décisions assurées. On parle en termes de réussite oou d'échec, de vie ou de mort.
Background: The ethical principle of justice demands that resources be distributed equally and based on evidence. Guidelines regarding forgoing of CPR are unavailable and there is large variance in the reported rates of attempted CPR in in-hospital cardiac arrest. The main objective of this work was to study whether local culture and physician preferences may affect spur-of-the-moment decisions in unexpected in-hospital cardiac arrest.
Methods: Cross sectional questionnaire survey conducted among a convenience sample of physicians that likely comprise code team members in their country (Indonesia, Israel and Mexico). The questionnaire included details regarding respondent demographics and training, personal value judgments and preferences as well as professional experience regarding CPR and forgoing of resuscitation.
Results: Of the 675 questionnaires distributed, 617 (91.4%) were completed and returned. Country of practice and level of knowledge about resuscitation were strongly associated with avoiding CPR performance. Mexican physicians were almost twicemore likely to forgo CPR than their Israeli and Indonesian/Malaysian counterparts [OR1.84 (95% CI 1.03, 3.26), p = 0.038]. Mexican responders also placed greater emphasison personal and patient quality of life (p < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, degree of religiosity was most strongly associated with willingness to forgo CPR; orthodox respondents were more than twice more likely to report having forgone CPR for apatient they do not know than secular and observant respondents, regardless of the country of practice [OR 2.12 (95%CI 1.30, 3.46), p = 0.003].
Conclusions: In unexpected in-hospital cardiac arrest the decision to perform or withhold CPR may be affected by physician knowledge and local culture as well as personal preferences. Physician CPR training should include information regarding predictors of patient outcome at as well as emphasis on differentiating between patient and personal preferences in an emergency.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of clinician perception of inappropriate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) regarding the last out--of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) encountered in an adult 80 years or older and its relationship to patient outcome.
DESIGN: Subanalysis of an international multicenter cross-sectional survey (REAPPROPRIATE).
SETTING: Out-of-hospital CPR attempts registered in Europe, Israel, Japan, and the United States in adults 80 years or older.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 611 clinicians of whom 176 (28.8%) were doctors, 123 (20.1%) were nurses, and 312 (51.1%) were emergency medical technicians/paramedics.
RESULTS AND MEASUREMENTS: The last CPR attempt among patients 80 years or older was perceived as appropriate by 320 (52.4%) of the clinicians; 178 (29.1%) were uncertain about the appropriateness, and 113 (18.5%) perceived the CPR attempt as inappropriate. The survival to hospital discharge for the “appropriate” subgroup was 8 of 265 (3.0%), 1 of 164 (.6%) in the “uncertain” subgroup, and 2 of 107 (1.9%) in the “inappropriate” subgroup (P = .23); 503 of 564 (89.2%) CPR attempts involved non-shockable rhythms.
CPR attempts in nursing homes accounted for 124 of 590 (21.0%) of the patients and were perceived as appropriate by 44 (35.5%) of the clinicians; 45 (36.3%) were uncertain about the appropriateness; and 35 (28.2%) perceived the CPR attempt as inappropriate. The survival to hospital discharge for the nursing home patients was 0 of 107 (0%); 104 of 111 (93.7%) CPR attempts involved non-shockable rhythms.
verall, 36 of 543 (6.6%) CPR attempts were undertaken despite a known written do not attempt resuscitation decision; 14 of 36 (38.9%) clinicians considered this appropriate, 9 of 36 (25.0%) were uncertain about its appropriateness, and 13 of 36 (36.1%) considered this inappropriate.
CONCLUSION: Our findings show that despite generally poor outcomes for older patients undergoing CPR, many emergency clinicians do not consider these attempts at resuscitation to be inappropriate. A professional and societal debate is urgently needed to ensure that first we do not harm older patients by futile CPR attempts.
BACKGROUND: Racial and ethnic minorities are at risk for disparities in quality of care after out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest (OHCA). As such, we examined associations between race and ethnicity and use of guideline-recommended and life-sustaining procedures during hospitalizations for OHCA.
METHODS: This was a retrospective study of hospitalizations for OHCA in all acute-care, non-federal California hospitals from 2009 to 2011. Associations between the use of (1) guideline-recommended procedures (cardiac catheterization for ventricular fibrillation/tachycardia, therapeutic hypothermia), (2) life-sustaining procedures (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)/tracheostomy, renal replacement therapy (RRT)), and (3) palliative care and race/ethnicity were examined using hierarchical logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS: Among 51,198 hospitalizations for OHCA, unadjusted rates of cardiac catheterization were 34.9% in Whites, 19.8% in Blacks, 27.2% in Hispanics, and 30.9% in Asians (P < 0.01). Rates of therapeutic hypothermia were 2.3% in Whites, 1.1% in Blacks, 1.3% in Hispanics, and 1.9% in Asians (P < 0.01). Rates of PEG/tracheostomy and RRT were 2.2% and 9.8% in Whites, 5.7% and 19.9% in Blacks, 4.2% and 19.9% in Hispanics, and 3.4% and 18.2% in Asians, respectively (P < 0.01). Rates of palliative care were 14.8% in Whites, 9.6% in Blacks, 10.1% in Hispanics, and 14.3% in Asians (P < 0.01). Differences in utilization of procedures persisted after adjustment for patient and hospital-related factors.
CONCLUSION: Racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to receive guideline-recommended interventions and palliative care, and more likely to receive life-sustaining treatments following OHCA. These findings suggest that significant disparities exist in medical care after OHCA.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of intercenter variation and patient factors on end-of-life care practices for infants who die in regional neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).
STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis using the Children's Hospital Neonatal Database during 2010-2016. A total of 6299 nonsurviving infants cared for in 32 participating regional NICUs were included to examine intercenter variation and the effects of gestational age, race, and cause of death on 3 end-of-life care practices: do not attempt resuscitation orders (DNR), cardiopulmonary resuscitation within 6 hours of death (CPR), and withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies (WLST). Factors associated with these practices were used to develop a multivariable equation.
RESULTS: Dying infants in the cohort underwent DNR (55%), CPR (21%), and WLST (73%). Gestational age, cause of death, and race were significantly and differently associated with each practice: younger gestational age (<28 weeks) was associated with CPR (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.5-2.1) but not with DNR or WLST, and central nervous system injury was associated with DNR (1.6, 1.3-1.9) and WLST (4.8, 3.7-6.2). Black race was associated with decreased odds of WLST (0.7, 0.6-0.8). Between centers, practices varied widely at different gestational ages, race, and causes of death.
CONCLUSIONS: From the available data on end-of-life care practices for regional NICU patients, variability appears to be either individualized or without consistency.
Background: Little is known about how certain educational interventions may improve informed code status discussions by physician assistant (PA) and nurse practitioner students.
Methods: This is a prospective, prospective, single academic center pilot study utilizing a short case-based PowerPoint that reviewed the differences between code status choices and the likelihood of survival to hospital discharge of attempted resuscitation after a cardiac arrest. Training occurred between September 1, 2017, and May 31, 2018. The study population included PA and adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP) students during their inpatient internal medicine rotation (n = 9) and preclinical PA students (n = 5).
Results: After training, there was a significant increase in knowledge in the likelihood of survival to hospital discharge (P = .01) and comfort level in having an informed code status discussion (3.36 ± 0.81 vs 4.10 ± 0.80, P = .02). For questions related to identification of the correct code status, there were no significant differences before and after the intervention.
Conclusion: A short case-based PowerPoint viewed by PA and AGACNP students increased the knowledge about the likelihood of survival to hospital discharge of attempted resuscitation after a cardiac arrest and increased the comfort level of having code status discussions with patients by PA and AGACNP students.
La loi Claeys-Leonetti a trois ans. Elle consacre la sédation profonde et continue jusqu’au décès dans certaines circonstances, elle rend contraignantes les directives anticipées pour le corps médical, et elle établit un vrai contrat de confiance entre le patient et sa personne de confiance. Dans un contexte de méconnaissance de cette loi, un sentiment de « mal mourir » persiste. Notamment, le choix d’un terme de pronostic vital engagé à quelques heures ou jours est perçu comme trop restrictif pour certains patients souffrant psychiquement ou physiquement dans les suites d’une maladie aiguë ou chronique. L’arrêt de la nutrition et de l’hydratation pose également des problèmes d’interprétation qui mériteraient d’être précisés. Cela conduit à une demande d’évolution législative vers l’euthanasie ou l’assistance au suicide. Une telle évolution, déjà pratiquée au Benelux depuis presque 20 ans non sans que le débat y persiste, doit être bien soupesée pour éviter les pièges d’une conception utilitariste de la vie. Mais elle doit aussi être posée en regard de la demande croissante d’autonomie qui ne constitue qu’une réponse logique et respectable aux progrès vertigineux de la médecine. Les priorités actuelles sont, d’une part, d’informer et de discuter des possibilités données par la loi actuelle et, d’autre part, de mettre en œuvre une politique globale diminuant les situations où le sentiment d’indignité de la fin de vie est prégnant. Les équipes de réanimation, par les conséquences proches comme plus lointaines de leur décision, sont et doivent rester au cœur de cette réflexion.