CPR even if it's futile...
18th March 2019
Immediate Care Training
A critical review of the factors leading to cardiopulmonary resuscitation as the default position of hospitalized patients in the USA regardless of severity of illness
Medics are occasionally faced with patients requesting full resuscitation against medical advice. More commonly, neither patients nor their family members make such a request, but physicians simply presume that providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation comports with the patient’s wishes. In the USA, in contrast to other countries, a unilateral Do-Not-Resuscitate order by the physician is either forbidden by State Statute or not enforced by hospital policy. Unless otherwise specified, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on all hospitalized patients, regardless of the severity of the underlying illness, is the default position. Unlike other medical interventions, no deference is given to the medical judgment of the physician even when a patient is in the last days of a terminal illness. We examine the factors that have led to cardiopulmonary resuscitation having this unique status.