February 18, 2010
In the Feb. 11th New England Journal of Medicine
Robert Truog, MD (who seems to write as often as Atul Gawande) justifies performing futile CPR for the benefit of family members.
Not often, of course, and never when it would cause substantial suffering or the withdrawal of resources from others would be a credible threat—but sometimes—and in instances where no “practice guidelines” might ever catch—as an act of sincere caring and compassion.
I think most professionals of all sorts can look back on their lives and “justify” futile actions that they would repeat, given the same circumstances. It makes finger pointing and eyes-to-heaven looks rather silly.
But then to Dr. Truog I’d say: “But not too often, I hope.”
Good reflection. Life just isn’t so simple!
Labels: medical ethics; CPR