Ethics of life-sustaining treatment in locked-in syndrome: a Chinese survey

Publication date: Available online 2 November 2019Source: Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation MedicineAuthor(s): Yifan Yan, Athena Demertzi, Yinyan Xia, Jing Wang, Nantu Hu, Zhiliang Zhang, Haibo Di, Steven LaureysAbstractBackgroundLocked-in syndrome (LIS) characterizes individuals who have experienced pontine lesions, who have limited motor output but with preserved cognitive abilities. Despite their severe physical impairment, individuals with LIS self-profess a higher quality of life than generally expected. Such third-person expectations about LIS are shaped by personal and cultural factors in western countries.ObjectiveWe sought to investigate whether such opinions are further influenced by the cultural background in East Asia. We surveyed attitudes about the ethics of life-sustaining treatment in LIS in a cohort of medical and non-medical Chinese participants.ResultsThe final study sample included 1545 respondents: medical professionals (n = 597, 39%), neurologists (n = 303, 20%), legal professionals (n = 276, 18%) and other professionals (n = 369, 24%), including 180 family members of individuals with LIS. Most of the participants (70%), especially neurologists, thought that life-sustaining treatment could not be stopped in individuals with LIS. It might be unnecessary to withdraw life-sustaining treatment, because the condition involved is not terminal and irreversible, and physical treatment can be beneficial for the patient....
Source: Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine - Category: Rehabilitation Source Type: research

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The unidentified patient, from Maryland, suffered a rare but devastating brain-stem stroke which paralysed her from head-to-toe. She was diagnosed with locked-in syndrome.
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Source: the Mail online | Health - Category: Consumer Health News Source Type: news
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