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Position Papers |

Withholding and Withdrawing Life-sustaining Therapy

Ann Intern Med. 1991;115(6):478-485. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-115-6-478
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American Thoracic Society (ATS) members who practice pulmonary and critical care medicine commonly care for patients receiving mechanical ventilation and other life-sustaining therapy. They not only participate in decisions to withhold and withdraw such therapy but are also professionally and personally involved in the medical, ethical, and legal issues arising from those decisions. Recognizing the importance of these issues to its membership, the ATS Board of Directors approved formation of an ad hoc Bioethics Task Force to develop an official ATS statement related to withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining therapy.

The purpose of this statement is to define acceptable standards of


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