The ethical and legal implications of deactivating an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator in a terminally ill cancer patient


England, Ruth, England, Tim and Coggon, John (2007) The ethical and legal implications of deactivating an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator in a terminally ill cancer patient. Journal of Medical Ethics, 33, (9), 538-540. (doi:10.1136/jme.2006.017657). (PMID:17761824).

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Description/Abstract

In this paper, the ethical and legal issues raised by the deactivation of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) in patients with terminal cancer is considered. It is argued that the ICD cannot be well described either as a treatment or as a non-treatment option, and thus raises complex questions regarding how rules governing deactivation should be framed. A new category called “integral devices” is proposed. Integral devices require their own special rules, reflecting their position as a “halfway house” between a form of treatment and a part of the body. The practical problems faced by doctors working in palliative medicine with regard to the deactivation of ICDs are also considered.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0306-6800 (print)
1473-4257 (electronic)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Law > Southampton Law School
ePrint ID: 343811
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2012 16:18
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 20:26
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/343811

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