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Deathbed Shock:  Causes and Cures

Katy Butler, BA1; Sunita Puri, MD, MS2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Independent journalist
2Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(1):88-89. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11125.
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As he lay dying in a hospital in San Diego, a 71-year-old retired commercial fisherman was shocked 10 times by his implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), convulsing in front of his wife, 7 children, siblings, and mother. For 2 days, no medical professional intervened. The device was deactivated only at his wife’s insistence. Afterwards, she wanted to know, “Why wasn’t there a sticker on his chart? Why didn’t someone write that order?”

Article InformationCorresponding Author: Katy Butler, BA, PO Box 1505, Mill Valley, CA 94942 (katybutlerwriter@gmail.com).

Published Online: November 25, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11125.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Additional Information: Ms Butler is the author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster; 2013.

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