We present three cases to illus trate the end-of-life care after withdrawal of mechanical ventilation. In a one-year-old girl with meningococcal septic shock, muscle relaxants were continued when mechanical ventilation was withdrawn. In a 10-day-old girl with perinatal asphyxia a high dose of fentanyl was given before mechanical ventilation was withdrawn. A 6-week-old girl in a vegetative state was fighting for breath after detubation. At the request of the parents to end this condition, vecuronium bromide was given. In these three cases death was probably brought forward by a maximum of 12-24 hours. Three arguments can be presented to justify this: the relief of suffering, the perceptions of the parents and the fact that death was expected within a very short time. The administration of these medicines cannot, however, be considered normal medical practice. Therefore we argue that these cases should be reviewed by the national expert review committee and guidelines should be developed for appropriate palliative care after the withdrawal of mechanical ventilation.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde|
|Publication status||Published - 20 Sep 2008|