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Ethical dilemma in the air

Imaging the scenario: A commercial plane flying in USA from to East to West Coast. Suddenly there is a medical emergency on board, you are a physician and passenger as well; two rows behind you, another passenger is undergoing a cardiac arrest. After 25 minutes of basic cardiac life support, you and other five physicians on board agreed to stop the code and declare the patient dead. But the flight attendant explained that if you stopped CPR, the airline’s protocol would require the cabin crew to continue it in our stead. And now the dilemma, what to do?¬† carry on? stop?… what would you have done?

 

** Up in the air:  Suspending Ethical Medical Practice

     Malcom Shaner, MD

     New English Journal of Medicine, November 2010

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