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Deciphering the appropriateness of defaults: the need for domain-specific evidence


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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