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runswithneedles

To work a code or not

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I came across a situation today which got me thinking. Which choice is better to the family. When you come across a patient who is obviously been dead for several hours (lividity, rigor, pupils fixed, etc) would you want to work that code for a round or two of CPR and call it or would you simply confirm asystole in all three leads and call it than. Is the trauma of seeing their family member worked outweigh the possible peace of mind of knowing that everything that could have been done was done.

Whats everyone's thoughts?

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...When you come across a patient who is obviously been dead for several hours (lividity, rigor, pupils fixed, etc) would you want to work that code for a round or two of CPR and call it or would you simply confirm asystole in all three leads and call it than...

Well here are two questions for you. Why on earth would you work a cardiac arrest given the conditions you described? Did you work this code?

Serious questions.

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I chose to call it. My partner brought it up after the call it just made me stop and think. And for me personally I had a pile of evidence to prove that this patient would not benefit from CPR, or any ALS measures.

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In my service anyway, we don't do CPR just for show. We've had some good training around death and dying, grief management etc, and the message that keeps getting given to us is be honest with people and don't give them a false sense of hope. If I get on scene and the patient is obviously dead, I do my assessment and then tell the family that their loved one has died today. At that point, they become my patient now and I'm there to support and help them.

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Pardon if this sounds cold, heartless, shameful. But if their no signs of life in the patient I feel its a waste of energy, supplies, and my blood sweat and tears to work someone who's long gone. I thought for the past 2 1/2 years that my own logic was reasonable. But when my partner brought that up I saw it in a view that I never considered. I brought my question here to see what the EMS community thinks.

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What is your question, though? Do you really want to know if anyone would work a code like what you described? Or is there something else you want to know? Why did your partner think that this code should have been worked? What good would it have done anyone to work it?

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Working a code on someone obviously dead gives the family false hope, is unprofessional and is abusive to the body. I am sure it does not help with their grieving.

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Will say pt is dead, nothing more can do... etc.

Edited by miscusi

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Why would anyone even think of working someone with rigor? Don't waste anyone's time, including the family by getting their hopes up. Be professional and explain that their loved one has been dead for at least 6 hours and at that point there is nothing that can be done. There is no letting the family know that everything has been done. There is nothing to be done other than supporting the family. Needles, your partner is an ass.

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