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J Intensive Care Soc. 2016 Nov;17(4):295-301. doi: 10.1177/1751143716647980. Epub 2016 May 5.

A case for stopping the early withdrawal of life sustaining therapies in patients with devastating brain injuries.

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North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK.
Wye Valley NHS Trust, Hereford, UK.
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK.


Early prognostication in patients with a devastating brain injury is not always accurate and can lead to inappropriate decisions. We present case histories to support the recent recommendations of the Neurocritical Care Society that treatment withdrawal decisions should be delayed by up to 72 h in these patients. Development of pathways incorporating these recommendations can improve prognostication, enhance end of life care given to these patients and their families, and increase the opportunities to explore the donation wishes of more patients. They may also standardise the approach to decision making in the same way as the recommendations for management of patients after out of hospital cardiac arrest have done.


Devastating brain injury; critical care management; end of life care; neurocritical care; organ donation

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