An ER Decision to Withhold CPR

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Patients, families and friends often have unrealistic expectations of resuscitative efforts, based on a number of erroneous sources of information, including television, movies, newspapers and word of mouth. Education about realistic expectations and appropriate management of emergent cases with unrealistic likelihood of a positive outcome is a challenge, particularly in the ED setting where there is no pre-existing patient-physician relationship, communication and rapport must be rapidly established, and decisions must be made expeditiously, often without the luxury of complete medical history.