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Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2011 Aug;17(4):872-6. doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000403801.33483.44.

Spinal cord injury and a request to stop treatment.


When a person who is not terminally ill requests that life-prolonging treatment be stopped, the treating physician must systematically consider all relevant diagnostic, prognostic, and psychosocial elements of that request. First, the patient's decision-making capacity must be confirmed. Next, medical facts, patient preferences, quality of life, and contextual matters surrounding the request must be evaluated and interpreted. Finally, to respect the patient fully, the treating physician must engage all clinical and paraclinical resources needed to ensure that the request is truly informed and autonomous.

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