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How do doctors make decisions when managing care for critically and terminally ill patients?

from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice via Medical Xpress

With the U.S. population aging rapidly, more resources are being dedicated to understanding how doctors make decisions while caring for critically ill, older patients at the end of their lives. If faced with an elderly, critically ill patient who has expressed the wish not to be intubated, for example, which factors affect the doctor's decision about whether to abide by the patient's preference? In a study recently published in Medical Decision Making, researchers from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the University of Pittsburgh used a simulated patient encounter describing a man in his late 70's with metastatic cancer and worsening vital signs to study the decision-making process of 73 hospital-based physicians at three major academic mental centers. more

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