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When Did We Start Talking About no Recovery in Critical Illness?

  
NCJ_cover.jpgBy Eelco F. M. Wijdicks MD, PhD

First Online: 24 January 2020

Neurointensivists (and intensivists) accept the responsibility for their decisions when they determine that outcome will be realistically poor. How did we do it in the past? For many years (and even decades), physicians, and later neurosurgeons, would decide that a catastrophically injured patient was in a medically irretrievable situation, totally beyond recovery and irrevocably damaged. These strong words would be communicated at the bedside to family members, who would often agree—because that’s what they thought they saw too—and leave decisions in the physician’s capable hands.

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