Emergency Medical Services (EMS) practitioners often initiate and conduct certain resuscitations with much reluctance. Their emotions tell them that resuscitation of an asystolic, jaundiced 80 year old man reported to have metastatic pancreatic cancer is a fruitless endeavor. It can even be rationalized that allowing that person to die from a sudden cardiac arrest is more humane than attempting to prolong a life that may only be a painful, bedridden existence. On the other hand, there are arguments that any attempts to discriminate between those who should and should not be aggressively resuscitated is the first step on the road to genocide. How old is “too old?” Where does one draw the line? Who will decide such criteria for waiving resuscitation? In this line of thinking, failure to attempt resuscitation not only defies the Hippocratic oath, it neglects the patient’s ultimate right - the right to live.
KeywordsCardiac Arrest Emergency Medical Service Sudden Cardiac Arrest Advanced Cardiac Life Support Resuscitative Effort
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