August 21, 2008

Trauma Pros, Public Differ on Miracles

Trauma care professionals and patients differ regarding patients' care rights and divine intervention in recovery from an injury, U.S. researchers said.

While 61.3 percent of the public said they believed a person in a persistent vegetative state could be saved by a miracle, 20.2 percent of the trauma professionals believed that. More than half of the public -- 57.4 percent -- felt divine intervention could save a person when physicians have said treatment is futile versus 19.5 percent of the trauma professionals. Seventy-two percent of the professionals versus 44.3 percent of the public believe trauma patients have a right to demand care not ordered by a physician.

Dr. Lenworth M. Jacobs of Hartford Hospital and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and colleagues analyzed results of a telephone survey of 1,006 members of the general public and the results of a written survey mailed to trauma center and emergency medical services personnel.

Both surveys were conducted in 2005, and the findings were published in the August issue of the Archives of Surgery.