Procedures on dying patients are wrong, study concludes
- By: James Ciment
The practice of allowing trainee doctors to acquire skills by carrying out procedures on dying patients has been challenged by doctors in the United States, who claim that it is an unacceptable departure from the normal system of requiring informed consent. Moreover, many trainee doctors themselves are opposed carrying out certain of the procedures, the doctors say.
The authors of the study, whose results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (1999;341:2088–91), asked 234 trainee doctors in Connecticut to consider the following scenario: an elderly inpatient is receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation; after 20 minutes there is no response from the patient, who seems to be dying. The doctors were asked whether they felt it was ever appropriate in such a situation for a trainee doctor to gain experience by inserting a femoral vein catheter.
The researchers found that two thirds of the doctors were opposed to conducting the procedure