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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Family Presence during resus....
Date: 28 Jul 2000 10:57:08 GMT

In <2_mf5.1582$uf.1968@news1-hme0> "Sheena" <>

>I would not 'push' for this to become an absolute must on the unit, but
>think that it is a good area for debate. If at the right time, with the
>right people who ALL consented during the right circumstances I would not
>hesitate to have the family present!
>Thanks again and please feel free to email me

   As with most good ethical debates in medicine, the proper response
is pragmatic: try it and see what happens.  Very often, things that are
prognosticated to be disasters are not.  You'll get a few hysterical
people who need to be removed, but mostly I've found that in very
stressful situations we humans show the stuff that got us here over a
million years of evolution: when the going is really hard in an
emergency, laypeople and professionals alike act with splendid courage
and lack of friction.  If our ancestors hadn't done that, they in many
cases wouldn't have survived to be our ancestors.

   I've been privileged to see a few cryonic preservation cases in
which a person died and was was pronounced by hospice, then was given
CPR (without defib) by the cryonics team while being prepared for
femoral bypass for cooling. A couple of these cases happened in living
rooms and garages. The families in all cases were as helpful as
anyone-- getting ice, lifting and carrying, moving lights, and so on.
Of course, people who sign up for cryonics, and their families, tend to
be a slightly more rational (rationalizing?) breed.  Still, it lets you
see the limits of the possible.  As I read the history of medicine in
the frontier and the past, it's no different: families routinely
assisted with surgery on their wives and children when necessary.  You
have no idea what the average person is capable of, until you demand
the best from him or her in a tight spot. And then you find to your
pleasant and shocked suprise that "heroism" and "fast thinking in a
pinch" is common as dirt, and that the average person has the hidden
capability to do things you (and the person) never would have guessed.

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