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Page last updated at 07:38 GMT, Friday, 1 June 2012 08:38 UK

Resuscitation decisions 'complex'

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A review of hospital cases has shown some doctors have been ignoring the explicit wishes of elderly patients not to be resuscitated should they suffer a heart attack. The report also highlights that among the cases studied, more than a third of cases of heart attacks in hospitals could have been avoided.

Dr George Findlay, one of the authors of the reports, says one of the key findings was that the way for holding information about resuscitation decisions "wasn't very transparent".

"These a very difficult discussions", he explained, which is why resuscitation decisions "must be discussed with individual patients".

Dr David Pitcher, consultant cardiologist and vice chair of the Resuscitation Council UK, told the Today programme he was "not totally surprised" by the findings.

He says the results need to be looked "in perspective" as only a "very small sample" received resuscitation.

"It's probably bigger than I expected but we must recognise that communication is a difficult and complex problem" in cases of resuscitation, he told Jim Naughtie.


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