May 032011

In a review of the charts of 3,138 patients who died in 15 ICUs, Muni et al report that the 21% nonwhite patients (incl. 9% Asians, 7% blacks, 3% Hispanics) had odds ratios of 0.41 for having a living will; 1.59 for having full life support at the time of death; 1.57 for having a physician recommend withdrawal of life support, and 1.49 for the presence of disagreements between family members or with the treating team. These numbers were after controlling for socioeconomic status (home ZIP code, educational attainment on the death certificate, and insurance). CHEST 2011;139:1025-1033.

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Nonwhite patients got more aggressive ICU care at end of life