[Change in therapy target and therapy limitations in intensive care medicine. Position paper of the Ethics Section of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine].
U Janssens, H Burchardi, G Duttge, R Erchinger, P Gretenkort, M Mohr, F Nauck, S Rothärmel, F Salomon, P Schmucker, A Simon, H Stopfkuchen, A Valentin, N Weiler, G Neitzke
The task of physicians is to maintain life, to protect and re-establish health as well as to alleviate suffering and to accompany the dying until death, under consideration of the self-determination rights of patients. Increasingly more and differentiated options for this are becoming available in intensive care medicine. Within the framework of professional responsibility physicians must decide which of the available treatment options are indicated. This process of decision-making is determined by answering the following question: when and under which circumstances is induction or continuation of intensive care treatment justified? In addition to the indications, the advance directive of the patient is the deciding factor. Medical indications represent a scientifically based estimation that a therapeutic measure is suitable in order to achieve a defined therapy target with a given probability. The ascertainment of the patient directive is achieved in a graded process depending on the state of consciousness of the patient. The present article offers orientation assistance to physicians for these decisions which are an individual responsibility.
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