Withdrawal of invasive ventilation in a patient with motor neurone disease and total locked-in syndrome

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Abstract

Withdrawing invasive ventilation from a person with motor neurone disease who lacks the relevant mental capacity raises ethical issues such as the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and establishing best interests. There is little available information on providing optimal symptom management to these patients during the withdrawal process. We describe a man with motor neurone disease who also had total locked-in syndrome at the time of ventilation withdrawal, and we document the legal, ethical, emotional and symptom control issues encountered in supporting him.

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