The ethical basis for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation only after informed consent in selected patient groups admitted to hospital

Clinical Ethics, 12(3), 111-116
Authors: Philip Berry, Iona Heath
“Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is frequently performed on patients who, in retrospect, had a very low chance of survival. This is because all patients are ‘For cardiopulmonary resuscitation’ on admission to hospital by default, and delays occur before cardiopulmonary resuscitation can be ‘de-prescribed’. This article reviews the nature of potential harms caused by futile cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the reasons why de-prescription may be delayed, recent legal judgements relevant to timely do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation decision making, and the possible detrimental effects of do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation discussions on end of life care.”
Find article here.

Withdrawing clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) in patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness: is there still a role for the courts?

Journal of Medical Ethics 2017;43:476-480.
Author: English V, Sheather JC
“Currently, in England and Wales, Court of Protection’s Practice Directive 9E (PD9E) requires all cases of proposed withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining treatment in relation to adults in a permanent vegetative state (PVS) or minimally conscious state be referred to the Court. This paper looks at the origins of PD9E and contrasts the routine requirement to refer cases to court with the complex clinical terrain that comprises those suffering from prolonged disorders of consciousness.”
Find article here (part of a series of articles on this topic)

Suicide and self-harm in prisons hit worst ever levels

The Guardian, 29 June 2017
Author: Rajeev Syal
“Prisons have “struggled to cope” with record rates of suicide and self-harm among inmates following cuts to funding and staff numbers, the public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said it remains unclear how the authorities will meet aims for improving prisoners’ mental health or get value for money because of a lack of relevant data. Auditors said that self-harm incidents increased by 73% between 2012 and 2016 to 40,161, while the 120 self-inflicted deaths in prison in 2016 was the highest figure on record and almost double that for 2012.”
Find article here.

111 People Ended Their Lives in 6 Months Under California’s New Right-to-Die Law

Fortune, 28 June 2017
Author: Sy Mukherjee
“In 2016, California became the sixth state to enact a “right-to-die” or physician-assisted suicide law (Washington, D.C. also has one in place). Health officials from the Golden State now report that 111 terminally ill patients used the law to legally end their lives in its first six months. 59 people who requested life-ending medication didn’t wind up taking it by the end of 2016 (21 others died without taking the drugs in the first place).”
Find article here.

Euthanasia survey hints at support from doctors, nurses and division

SMH, 24 June 2017
Author: James Robertson
“Most NSW doctors and nurses support a controversial medical euthanasia bill headed for Parliament, according to research that could prompt new debate about the medical fraternity’s willingness to accept changes to assisted suicide laws. A bill, to allow patients to apply for medically assisted euthanasia in specific circumstances when older than 25, will be introduced to the NSW upper house in August for a conscience vote. About 60 per cent of doctors support the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill and fewer than 30 per cent oppose it.”
Find article here.

Euthanasia survey hints at support from doctors, nurses and division

SMH, 24 June 2017
Author: James Robertson
“Most NSW doctors and nurses support a controversial medical euthanasia bill headed for Parliament, according to research that could prompt new debate about the medical fraternity’s willingness to accept changes to assisted suicide laws.”
Find article here.

New Frontiers in End-of-Life Ethics (and Policy): Scope, Advance Directives and Conscientious Objection

Bioethics, 31(6) 2017, 422-423
Author: Udo Schuklenk
“However, it would be premature to conclude that all arguments are settled now, if not in politics and law, and that, certainly in ethics, nothing much original could be added to the existing corpus of critical analysis and argument. In fact jurisdictions considering the decriminalization of medical aid in dying are grappling today with three issues that deserve further analysis.”
Find article here.

The Disputed Death of an 8-Year-Old Whose Organs Were Donated

The Atlantic, 16 June 2017
Author: Sarah Zhang
“This unusual case casts light on a once-controversial but increasingly common protocol called “organ donation after circulatory death,” which occurs after the heart has stopped. (Also sometimes called “donation after cardiac death,” or DCD.) In contrast, the vast majority of organs in the U.S. come from donors who are brain dead.”
Find article here.