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Deciphering the appropriateness of defaults: the need for domain-specific evidence
  1. Caroline Mayberry Quill1,2,
  2. Scott Halpern1,2
  1. 1Department of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2Fostering Improvement in End-of-Life Decision Science (FIELDS), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Scott Halpern, Department of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, 724 Blockley Hall, 423 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA; shalpern{at}exchange.upenn.edu

Abstract

In this issue of The Journal of Medical Ethics, xxx and colleagues report a randomized trial of the influence of default options on delivery room management of an extremely premature infant. They report that among respondents to the hypothetical vignette, those who received the resuscitation default were significantly more likely to choose resuscitation compared with those who were told that the default was comfort care. While the results warrant attention and further investigation, several methodological shortcomings limit the conclusions that can be drawn from this study.

  • Death education
  • suicide/assisted suicide
  • substance abusers/users of controlled substances
  • right to refuse treatment
  • research ethics
  • elderly and terminally ill
  • living wills/advance directives
  • healthcare economics

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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