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DOI

10.22543/7674.42.P142147

Abstract

Background. In emergency surgery, a very heterogeneous approach is required in the decision making process, especially when considering the patient’s postoperative quality of life as well as medical, ethical, and legal factors. In some cases, the presence of an Advance Directive (AD) form may potentially help resolve the surgeon’s dilemma. Objectives. The primary objective of this survey was to investigate the opinions of surgeons across a representative cross-section of European countries regarding the decision making process using a specific case scenario so as to identify similarities and differences in practice. A secondary objective was to identify the possibility of establishing a more uniform approach and best practice. Method. A survey was conducted of surgeons from a range of European countries. Questionnaires were designed to obtain an overview of decision making in relation to the Limitation of Therapeutic Effort (LTE) using a specific case study and the level of awareness and practical use of ADs. Surveys were distributed via email to the members of the ESTES (European Society for Trauma and Emergency Surgery) and AEC (Association of Spanish surgeons), with voluntary, anonymous participation. Conclusions. Clear and additional support in the form of legal and ethical guidance with clinical protocols for surgical practice in such case scenarios is necessary. Wider use of ADs, together with education about their role and support for patients and relatives, would benefit the type of patient described in our scenario. A multidisciplinary team should play a more active role in decision making in order to avoid surgical procedures that are potentially futile. The concepts of LTE and Quality of life need a broader understanding among surgeons as well as more consistent application.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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