Quarterly scientific journal

Investigation of the ethical stop in the medical and nursing staff of pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Ioannis Koutelekos , Paraskevi Feizidou , Theodoros Argyropoulos , Amalia Yfanti , Dalia Megina , Eleni Evagelou



Background: Part of the concerns of ICU staff relate to decisions to support certain patients and the impact of these decisions on the emotional state of health professionals.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the ethical impasse of nurses and doctors in pediatric ICUs in Greece regarding "futile treatment".

Material and Method: The sample of the study consisted of doctors and nurses from the pediatric ICUs of the "P.A. Kyriakou Children’s Hospital ", "Agia Sofia Children's Hospital " "Pentelis Children Hospital " "Ippokratio”hospital Thessaloniki, "University General Hospital of Heraklion Crete and University General hospital of Patras" with a capacity of 40 beds and employs 112 Nurses and 55 doctors. The duration of the study was six months. For  data collection was used a specially designed questionnaire, which was distributed to all employees of the above units and was answered by a total of 121 doctors and nurses. The questionnaire was created under the guidance of the research team based on international literature and professional experience, weighed to check its validity and small adjustments were made for the purposes of the study.

Results: The vast majority of respondents (81.8%) have applied in vain therapeutic interventions whose goal was not realistic while 77.7% felt that it does not contribute to treatment, but prolongs the path to death. 81.8% agree that the continuation of futile treatment should be a decision of the entire treatment team and there was a statistically significant correlation (p = 0.001) with the job of individuals, as supported by 97.8% of physicians and 72, 4% of nurses. Possible legal sanctions may affect the treatment plan in patients without life expectancy.

Conclusions: It is clear that the issues that cause a moral impasse in the ICU treatment team exist and are related to the futile treatment. They are often the cause of conflicts within the treatment group and cause them emotional burden.

Keywords: Pediatric ICU, vain treatment, moral deadlock, detention, withdrawal

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