March 5th, 2010

Hearts of Hospice Patients Being Needlessly Shocked

By Kelley Luckstein

Hospices that care for people who are dying often forget to turn off their implanted defibrillators, causing unnecessary discomfort, new research has found.

 

A defibrillator delivers a shock to restore a normal heartbeat in people with rhythm abnormalities. "The purpose is to save a patient's life," said study author Dr. Nathan Goldstein, an assistant professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at Mount Sinai…

 

"What is remarkable about Dr. Goldsteins study is what it uncovered," said Dr. Paul S. Mueller, director of the program in professionalism at the Mayo Clinic, who has done research on defibrillators in the end-of-life setting…

 

"The defibrillator is a life-preserving device. Is that kind of treatment consistent with a hospice program oriented toward end-of-life care? It would seem to be inconsistent with the goal of hospices," he added.

 

HealthDay, by Ed Edelson, 3/4/2010

 

Additional coverage: Healthfinder.gov

Tags: Cardiology, Dr. Paul Mueller, implanted defibrillators

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