So in the last episode of Season One of Stranger Things, there is a scene in which the Chief of Police has a flashback to the death of his daughter. She is clearly dying of cancer, and the medical team is running a resuscitation code to try to "bring her back".
Why? Why on earth would any physician run a code on someone with a terminal cancer?
One could argue that it's just television, but my understanding of the US medical system is that it isn't uncommon for people with terminal cancers to have CPR performed on them, to be intubated, and to be admitted to the ICU. Which isn't at all the way things are practiced at the institutions where I trained. Generally, when someone has a clearly terminal illness, the medical team will try to talk with the patient and his/her family to get them to choose a do not resuscitate order. Sometimes the ICU will even refuse to take terminally ill patients.
Which to me seems to be the ethically right decision. CPR is a horribly violent thing to put someone through, and few patients survive it to go on to have a meaningful quality of life. For myself personally, I would only want resuscitation attempted if there was a reasonable chance of me recovering and surviving long-term. If I had a terminal illness* and my heart stopped, I would want to be allowed to die without intervention.
And I don't think this is just my personal preference. In my experience, most patients choose a DNR order when they are properly informed about what an attempted resuscitation entails and how low the survival rates are. A refusal to accept a DNR is generally a result of poor communication from the medical team.
Thoughts? For people in the medical profession, what have you seen in your institution(s)?
*God forbid, knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder, etc.