Although issues concerning withdrawal and limitation of life support are commonly discussed,1-6 actual practices in pediatrics are largely unknown and are limited to neonatal intensive care unit (ICU) studies. In the neonatal ICUs at Yale-New Haven Hospital and at Hammersmith Hospital, 14% and 30%, respectively, of all deaths followed withdrawal of care.7,8 In adult ICUs, limitation and/or withdrawal of therapy is common,9 and in one investigation, resuscitation was not attempted immediately before ICU death in nearly two-thirds of cases.10 Nonetheless, many physicians believe that most hospital deaths occur only after all resuscitative attempts have failed,6,11,12 and others believe that resuscitative efforts neither are indicated nor desirable in many cases.1,13
- Received June 4, 1991.
- Accepted August 22, 1991.
- Copyright © 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics