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December 25, 1972

Prevention of Irrational Resuscitation

JAMA. 1972;222(13):1653. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210130045026

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To the Editor.—  With coronary care units and firemen trained to perform cardiac conversions springing up all over the country, it's perhaps time to sit back and appraise some implications of this new heroism in medicine.Granted that instant life-saving, especially when accomplished with the help of shiny machinery, is highly appealing and impressive, but to date, the long-term benefits appear to be less so, keeping in mind the decerebrate victims of some of these efforts.Since it may take years to compile valid data for evaluation (such as comparisons of hospital deaths and discharges of patients with cardiac disease before and after introductions of these innovations), the current enthusiastic practice of "cardiac resuscitation" invites some very serious medical, legal, and philosophical considerations right now. Protection against the overzealous use of these potentially dangerous procedures is also needed (remember the era of open-heart massage, now apparently abandoned?). Some of the