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February 1984

Intravenous Support in Dying Patients

Author Affiliations

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(2):420. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350140254049

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To the Editor.  —The article by Micetich et al regarding the use of IV fluids for a dying patient was timely and thoughtful and dealt with an issue that all practicing physicians have confronted at one time or another.I agree in substance with the authors' arguments, their reasoning, and their conclusions. However, in the two hypothetical cases presented, this very difficult ethical problem could have been averted had open and frank communications with the patient and family been initiated at hospital admission. The matter of resuscitation should have been discussed and decided beforehand. In my judgment, the resuscitation of a terminally ill patient was inadvisable in both cases. It merely postponed the inevitable outcome without furthering either patient's chances for a meaningful life.

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