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Discontinuation of Life-Sustaining Therapies 

Discontinuation of Life-Sustaining Therapies
Chapter:
Discontinuation of Life-Sustaining Therapies
Author(s):

Kathy Plakovic

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190204709.003.0010
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date: 21 November 2018

Technological advances allow healthcare providers to delay the dying process for critically and terminally ill patients. For patients lingering between life and death, decisions frequently need to be made regarding withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatments such as withholding and withdrawing antibiotics, blood products, dialysis, and artificial nutrition. Biomedical ethics guide all health care. The ethical principle of autonomy offers patients or their surrogate decision-maker the right to accept or reject any treatment. The benefits and burdens of treatment often guide care and should be aligned with preferences, values, and goals of care. This chapter reviews these treatments and the decision-making process that must be a part of any discussion to discontinue treatments.

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