Doctors and nurses working with critically ill patients suffer moral distress, research finds (Dr. Peter Dodek, St. Paul's Hospital)

Five years ago, Canadian critical care specialist Dr. Daren Heyland walked out of an intensive care unit and never went back.

That day, Heyland had been performing CPR and intubating a critically ill 84-year-old woman with a heart so worn out it could no longer be saved. Somehow the staff at the intensive care unit had been given orders to take every known measure to prolong her life. And she went into cardiac arrest.

Intensive care specialist Dr. Peter Dodek describes moral distress as the angst of feeling trapped between “what people think they ought to do, and what they’re compelled to do.”

Sharon Kirkey reports

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Story also found in the Montreal Gazette, the Calgary Herald and the Leader Post