Sometimes, Resuscitating the Elderly Is Just Cruel
Doctor: Patients, families need to have conversation beforehand
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2013 12:34 PM CDT

(Newser) – Last week, a British doctor made headlines for his belief that hospitals give up too early on way too many patients declared dead. Now, another is arguing in the Daily Mail that he sees too many elderly people being resuscitated when it makes little sense to do so, all because they or their families haven't talked it out beforehand with doctors. Dr. Nick Edwards (a pseudonym) rattles off first-hand examples of medical teams having no choice but to keep a patient alive, often through extreme measures, because no "living will" or something like it was in place.

CPR "is more akin to a going 10 rounds with Mike Tyson than the kiss of life you see on TV," he writes. It's even worse when performed on a frail senior. The process robs the patient of dignity and family members of a more natural goodbye. Have the talk, he urges. "It's an important conversation to have with anyone elderly, terminally ill, or who has a chronic condition such as end-stage heart failure where they might not survive a deterioration of that condition." Click for his full column.

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Showing 3 of 44 comments
Apr 17, 2013 9:45 AM CDT
Another chance for the left to prepare the masses for the full dose of Obamacare, where the elderly will be last on the list to get medical care.
Apr 16, 2013 10:01 PM CDT
DNR orders with specific instructions on what a patient wants are critical.
Apr 16, 2013 9:41 PM CDT
Long time friend of mine K had a massive stroke. Expected to die any minute. He had been in hospital a week when I went to visit him. His family was there waiting for the end. I did go in the room and saw K, he was hooked to several medical devices, he was not able to communicate. When I was leaving the hospital I was thinking, "Well this is the end of K". He came out of it, we were all surprised, paralyzed from waist down, went home and was in a wheel chair. He was a Civil Engineer like me, he got better and eventually got a job at the local State Highway Department reviewing construction plans. He lived another five years, then another stroke and we buried him. Just to say, be careful, sometimes you can't be absolutely sure.