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July 1992

Goals of Medicine

Author Affiliations

Martinsburg, WVa

Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(7):1530. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400190146032

To the Editor. —  I would like to thank Kathy Faber-Langendoen so much for putting into words1 what we have been struggling with here at the Veterans Administration in Martinsburg, WVa. Our ethics committee is attempting to rewrite the do-not-resuscitate policy by including a section on treatment futility. Our current policy ties the doctors' hands by stating that a do-not-resuscitate order cannot be written without the consent of the patient or surrogate. There have been times where we find ourselves performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation inappropriately because the family wants "everything done" and we are caught in a catch-22.It is unfortunate that our litigious society compels us to write a policy governing issues that are best dealt with by compassion, medical judgment, and common sense. We have written a policy that reflects the views presented in her article. Sadly, we are waiting to find out if it will fly legally.

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