Monday, May 19, 2008

Is CPR modern day bloodletting?

Dr. C. D. Hardison, an Emergency Medicine physician from Tennessee, seems to think so. In a letter to the editor of Emergency Medicine News Hardison relates CPR as the modern day equivalent to bloodletting.

In this letter he states:

Death is inevitable. None of us escapes it. Our obsession of saving every life at all costs has become something beyond absurd.

While this letter brought some nasty comments from a CPR/BLS listserv recently can we totally disagree with Dr. Hardison? Would any other procedure that was so profoundly unsuccessful--even though there is nothing to technically lose in resuscitating a dead person--be supported in medicine? His point about the amount of time and money spent obtaining and maintaining alphabet certifications for these profoundly poor outcomes is eye-opening.

The truth is we're still too Johnny and Roy to give up CPR and AED. Don't worry. And I don't believe we should in many circumstances. Comments and points-of-view like Dr. Hardison's are necessary as we work toward evolutionary changes in the expectations of society and realities of medicine.

I personally applaud Dr. Hardison's letter as a necessary step in this process.

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