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Ethical Considerations for Withdrawal of ECMO Support

Dr. Erin Sullivan DeMartino, a clinical medical ethicist and a physician in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, in her article appearing in the April 2019 isue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, examines ethical considerations regarding the withdrawal of ECMO. ECMO is often initiated in gravely ill patients under conditions of prognostic uncertainty, where there is hope of survival. Dr. DeMartino argues that, akin to other critical care therapies, ECMO may be compassionately withdrawn when it has become apparent that the technology is burdensome or interfering with the natural process of death. Available at:


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