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Compassionate Care or Death Panel: The Dilemma of Futile Treatment in the ED

Posted Jun 25 2010 6:58am
At the American College of Emergency Physicians September 2010  scientific assembly in Las Vegas, is a two-hour session titled "Compassionate Care or Death Panel: The Dilemma of Futile Treatment in the ED."  Here is the description
We have all read the articles about “Death Panels.” The dilemma of futility in emergency treatment contributes to emergency providers’ emotional stress, primarily when people have unrealistic expectations. Do we have a moral and ethical obligation in regards to futile care? There needs to be fundamental change in how we practice, but how do we get there? During this course, the moderator will present cases to illustrate the dilemma of futility. The panelists will role-play, demonstrating the professional challenges arising from requests for futile treatment. They will illustrate techniques to define and communicate appropriate expectations in patient care to family and other professionals.  Suggested strategies for implementation into your ED and community will be summarized in order to assist you in changing local medical and community standards.
  1. Debate when treatment in the emergency department is futile.
  2. Assess your professional role in determining futility.
  3. Demonstrate communication of appropriate expectations to families and other health care providers.
  4. Suggest strategies when confronting futility in everyday practice that can be implemented to change your local medical and community standards.

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