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Moral, legal, and ethical emergencies 

Moral, legal, and ethical emergencies
Chapter:
Moral, legal, and ethical emergencies
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199215638.003.0014
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date: 20 October 2019

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation 402

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 406

A cardiac or respiratory arrest is a medical emergency that quickly renders a patient incompetent. In the absence of clear instruction to the contrary, the default position for an attending medical and nursing team is to commence cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); however, this may not be reasonable in a patient in the terminal phase of their illness, or for whom the burdens of intervention clearly outweigh the potential benefits. Owing to the need for immediate intervention, there is a danger that this balance of burden to benefit will not be as carefully considered as it would for other medical interventions....

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