Healthcare Rationing Based On Futility : Why Not A Slow Code?
Slow Code is the use of minimal medical intervention in cases that are considered futile: some resuscitative measures are used, so long as they are non-aggressive. Minimal or slow-to-respond staff is also considered slow code. This means that medical personnel would respond slowly to an individual in need of CPR, administering shallow chest compressions and omitting the use of a defibrillator. There is a hustle and bustle surrounding the patient; buttons are pushed and medical personnel go through the motions of saving the patient. This is all part of the act but not the action of resuscitation.
In this case study, a newborn’s abnormalities are considered severe and life threatening. Despite the current use of extreme medical intervention, the physician determines that patient will most likely never leave the UCI. The parents insist that all measures be taken to preserve the life of their infant, even though they have been informed of the prognosis. After further examination, the physician determines that all medical interventions are futile. The parents insist a second time that all measures be taken to save their baby. The doctor decides to initiate the slow code, considering the emotional needs of the parent along with what is realistically best for the patient.
This form of healthcare rationing based on futility as determined by attending physicians is placed under scrutiny for many reasons. Many…