Let them go

This is a good first step. (Another link.)

People can’t rely on their families to ensure their wishes are followed. Many times families chicken out and let us go through an entire resuscitation attempt before producing the Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form. “Well, why didn’t you say something?” Certainly a lot more paperwork and cleanup now that we ran the code. The fact is, most attempts are unsuccessful anyway.

Or they simply tell us to start the resuscitation, because, well, that’s what they want and who gives a crap what their dead relative wants. As we saw during the Schiavo saga – and without taking anyone’s side – human beings once again demonstrated that they are incredibly selfish. Besides, the dead patient can’t object.

Codes are not pretty. Ever. Nakedness for starters. Loss of bowels. Puke. Defibrillations. Intubation. IV starts, sometimes many attempts, maybe one in the neck. Rib-cracking chest compressions. The “bone gun” in the chest. Not much dignity left.

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