Challenging issues confront emergency physicians routinely when performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Ethical issues surrounding resuscitation may include issues of futility, withholding or withdrawing interventions, advance directives, family presence, practising procedures on the newly dead, palliative care, and communication. Principles of bioethics can be valuable in assessing and debating ethical dilemmas. In many cases where curative care is not possible or is not desired, the goal of medical care at the end of life is to provide comfort to the patient and family, rather than initiating technological interventions that are unlikely to benefit the patient.
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Conflicts of interest: none.
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