Should we always try to resuscitate?
Sir, – Dr Muiris Houston’s article “Should we always try to resuscitate?” (Health + Family, April 4th) may be preaching to a medical profession that is long since converted.
A study of deaths occurring in European intensive care units (the Ethicus study), conducted in 2003, found that the vast majority of deaths occurred following limitation of therapy.
In Ireland only about one in five involved CPR, while more than two-thirds were preceded by decisions to withhold or withdraw the most aggressive therapies. These findings were broadly similar across Europe, despite the cultural and religious variations evident between jurisdictions. Decisions not to undertake intensive care support are very common too, in practice.
While commencement of CPR may remain the default response to unanticipated cardiac arrest, it is very common to limit or withhold medical care when meaningful recovery appears unlikely. – Yours, etc,