In response to “How to Approach End-of-Life Care Discussions, Determine Treatment Goals for Patients Near Death in the Emergency Department,” May 2014] The conversation changes completely if one uses “allow natural death” in the family discussion instead of the clinical terms “no CPR,” “do not resuscitate,” “no code,” etc.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 33 – No 07 – July 2014
I have had patients and families respond as if all the weight in the world was lifted from their shoulders when I have asked, “If while you are here in the hospital your heart or breathing stops and you die a natural death, do you want us to do anything about that?”
The usual response, no matter what their advance directive may say, is, “Oh, no. I’ve always wanted to die a natural death, not hooked up to any tubes or machines.”
There’s a wealth of resources on this available. Just search for “allow natural death.”
–Chuck Pilcher, MD, FACEP