Doctors may treat dying patients for too long


UK – Inquiry into end-of-life care finds some doctors carry on giving treatment to dying patients because of pressure from relatives.

Some doctors go on treating dying patients beyond the point at which it provides benefit because of pressure from relatives or a fear of perceived failure, a report by the British Medical Association into end-of-life care has concluded.

People nearing the end of their lives should only receive medical intervention if it is “appropriate and proportionate”, according to the inquiry, which also criticised the NHS for not consistently delivering care to dying patients across the country.

It urges Britain’s 250,000 doctors to be guided by their clinical judgment about a patient’s closeness to death and resist “pressure” from the person or their family to continue treatment that would bring no benefit. But it also advises medics not to take decisions that would leave patients feeling they have been “abandoned or denied treatment for reversible conditions or to relieve symptoms simply because they seem to be approaching the end of their life or have a terminal condition”.

The report, which drew on the views of 237 doctors and 269 members of the public, calls for wide-ranging changes to how the NHS handles end-of-life care to ensure every patient has “a good death”. It identified a series of flaws in care for those nearing the end of their lives.


Read the rest of the article on The Guardian website.

Author: Dennis Campbell, curated from Doctors may treat dying patients for too long, finds BMA report

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