2000 OPEN FORUM Abstracts
Terminal Weaning: How to Withdraw Life Support
Thomas M. Fuhrman, MD University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky
The death of a patient in the ICU is never an easy time. When death becomes inevitable, it is the duty of all involved caregivers to aid the patient, the family, and each other through this period. The decision to withdraw Life Support is not taken lightly. Communication is the key.
Terminal "weaning" from mechanical ventilation will be discussed, as will other organ support measures that must be addressed. Patient comfort strategies will be stressed. A step-by-step guide will be presented for the audience to consider.
This lecture is not intended to present a perfect Policy and Procedure that will cover every possibility regarding this situation. Rather it is intended to stimulate the audience to consider their thoughts about withdrawal of life support.