# 033 Ventilator Withdrawal Protocol, 2nd ed


Medical College of Wisconsin (EPERC)


Introduction:  This is the first part of a three-part series on withdrawing ventilators in patients expected to die. Fast Fact #34 will review use of sedating medication for ventilator withdrawal and Fast Fact #35 will review information for families.

Once it is decided that further aggressive medical care is incapable of meeting the desired goals of care for a ventilator-dependent patient, discussing ventilator withdrawal to allow death is appropriate (see Fast Fact #16). Such a decision is never easy for family members, doctors, nurses, and other critical care staff. All members of the care team should be involved and apprised of the decision-making process and have the opportunity to discuss the plan of care.


July 2005; 33.

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Charles von Gunten MD, PhD and David E Weissman MD

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