The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death reviewed the care given to 585 acutely-ill patients who ended up having a cardiac arrest. The watchdog concluded that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) had wrongly become the default setting. And it said a third of the cardiac arrests could have been prevented.
The report concluded assessing if resuscitation was necessary should become standard.
It found that staff were not properly assessing their condition and were failing to spot the warning signs of an impending cardiac arrest.
Details of whether or not to give CPR was recorded in the notes of only 122 patients in the study of hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of these, there were 52 cases where doctors had performed resuscitation on patients who had explicitly said they did not want it.
The experts said performing CPR in inappropriate cases could result in a distressing and undignified death.
Areas to think about:
- What is CPR; how does it work?
- What is the success rate of CPR when performed on an average hospital? What about outside of hospitals?
- What methods could practically help staff avoid carrying out CPR in cases where patients don’t want it?