BERNARD LO, M.D.
Two physicians were charged with murder for discontinuing mechanical ventilation and intravenous fluids for a comatose patient. Although these unprecedented criminal charges were dismissed, the ruling may give physicians little legal reassurance. The case shows the problems in judging prognosis, resolving disagreements with staff, and communicating with families. Indirectly the case suggests how decision making and the care of dying patients may be improved. Physicians will continue to have responsibility for making difficult decisions according to their best medical and ethical judgment, despite legal uncertainty.
LO B. The Death of Clarence Herbert: Withdrawing Care Is Not Murder. Ann Intern Med. ;101:248–251. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-101-2-248
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1984;101(2):248-251.
Emergency Medicine, End-of-Life Care, Ethics, Mechanical Ventilation, Neurology.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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