The Durban World Congress Ethics Round Table conference report: I. Differences between withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatments

Sprung, Charles L., Paruk, Fathima, Kissoon, Niranjan, Hartog, Christiane S., Lipman, Jeffrey, Du, Bin, Argent, Andrew, Hodgson, R. Eric, Guidet, Bertrand, Groeneveld, A. B. Johan and Feldman, Charles (2014) The Durban World Congress Ethics Round Table conference report: I. Differences between withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatments. Journal of Critical Care, 29 6: 890-895. doi:10.1016/j.jcrc.2014.06.022

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Author Sprung, Charles L.
Paruk, Fathima
Kissoon, Niranjan
Hartog, Christiane S.
Lipman, Jeffrey
Du, Bin
Argent, Andrew
Hodgson, R. Eric
Guidet, Bertrand
Groeneveld, A. B. Johan
Feldman, Charles
Title The Durban World Congress Ethics Round Table conference report: I. Differences between withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatments
Journal name Journal of Critical Care   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1557-8615
0883-9441
Publication date 2014-12-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.jcrc.2014.06.022
Volume 29
Issue 6
Start page 890
End page 895
Total pages 6
Place of publication Maryland Heights, MO, United States
Publisher W.B. Saunders
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Introduction

Withholding life-sustaining treatments (WHLST) and withdrawing life-sustaining treatments (WDLST) occur in most intensive care units (ICUs) around the world to varying degrees.

Methods

Speakers from invited faculty of the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine Congress in 2013 with an interest in ethics were approached to participate in an ethics round table. Participants were asked if they agreed with the statement “There is no moral difference between withholding and withdrawing a mechanical ventilator.” Differences between WHLST and WDLST were discussed. Official statements relating to WHLST and WDLST from intensive care societies, professional bodies, and government statements were sourced, documented, and compared.

Results

Sixteen respondents stated that there was no moral difference between withholding or withdrawing a mechanical ventilator, 2 were neutral, and 4 stated that there was a difference. Most ethicists and medical organizations state that there is no moral difference between WHLST and WDLST. A review of guidelines noted that all but 1 of 29 considered WHLST and WDLST as ethically or legally equivalent.

Conclusions

Most respondents, practicing intensivists, stated that there is no difference between WHLST and WDLST, supporting most ethicists and professional organizations. A minority of physicians still do not accept their equivalency.
Keyword Withholding
Withdrawing
Life-sustaining treatments
Ethics
Law
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
Official Audit
School of Medicine Publications
 
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