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The ethics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. I. Background to decision making.
  1. J M Davies,
  2. B M Reynolds
  1. Grimsby District, General Hospital, South Humberside.


    Futile cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may prevent humane care of the dying child and deprive parents of the opportunity to express their love, grief, and dedication at a critical moment, while appropriate and successful CPR may restore intact their child. Attempted resuscitation of corpses or children with terminal illness indicates inadequate knowledge, discrimination, and decision making. CPR is a medical procedure applicable to certain medical problems; weighing up the risks and benefits in each individual case is a medical function that is constrained by the law and must take full note of patient and family preferences, but cannot be governed by them and should not be over-ruled by laws based on complex but different cases. Time limits on occasions may curtail the full process of consultation and decision making. Applications of skills and resources in the right time and place requires understanding of the medical logistics and study of the potential for good outcome.

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