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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 138-146

An overview of end-of-life issues in the intensive care unit

1 Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Critical Care Medicine, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus OH 43210, USA
2 Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Critical Care Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor MI 48109, USA

Correspondence Address:
Thomas J Papadimos
Department of Anesthesiology, Room 431, The Ohio State University Medical Center, 410 West 10th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5151.84801

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The population of the earth is aging, and as medical techniques, pharmaceuticals, and devices push the boundaries of human physiological capabilities, more humans will go on to live longer. However, this prolonged existence may involve incapacities, particularly at the end-of-life, and especially in the intensive care unit. This arena involves not only patients and families, but also care givers. It involves topics from economics to existentialism, and surgery to spiritualism. It requires education, communication, acceptance of diversity, and an ultimate acquiescence to the inevitable. Here, we present a comprehensive overview of issues in the care of patients at the end-of-life stage that may cause physicians and other healthcare providers, medical, ethical, social, and philosophical concerns in the intensive care unit.

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