Thursday, June 19, 2014

Paternalistic Opposition to Court Judgment in Tracey

I was surprised to see this letter, titled "Useless Resuscitation," printed in this morning's Daily Telegraph (emphasis added).

SIR – Do Not Resuscitate orders (report, June 18) are usually in the patients' best interests. Dying is hard and often unpleasant. Why do it twice in quick succession? But doctors now have a legal obligation to inform and consult with patients and relatives if they wish to place such an order. This is desirable but often impractical.

The same doctors do not have an obligation to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation if they believe it to be medically futile. The change in the rules will simply lead to fewer DNR orders being signed and patients will suffer for it. A colleague once stated that when he got to a certain point in his sixties he would tattoo "Don't even think about it" across his chest, having seen the horrors of inappropriate resuscitation.

If patients and their relatives had practised medicine they would be able to make an informed decision, but they haven't and they can't. This new legal duty serves no useful purpose.

Dr Alexander Barber Camberley, Surrey

1 comment:

Carol Eblen said...

Such arrogance leads to "medical certainty" that is often proved to be wrong!
This is in the UK where they have universal coverage and the "double effect" of "saving money by shortening lives because of medical futility" is not even in play.