When ICU beds are scarce, doctors' goals change

Chicago Tribune, March 16, 2012

When hospitals are short on beds in the intensive care unit, doctors are more likely to switch from life-saving care to end-of-life care, a new Canadian study shows. But it's not clear whether that means patients die any sooner, researchers report in the Archives of Internal Medicine. In the new study, Dr. Henry Stelfox at the University of Calgary found the emergency team was called much less often when there weren't any free ICU beds compared with when at least three were available.


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