Practicing procedures on the recently dead
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We sought to measure the prevalence of practicing procedures on the recently dead in emergency departments. Surveys were mailed to all medical students, interns, residents in Emergency Medicine, emergency physicians, and trauma team leaders working in the teaching hospitals of a city with a population of 600,000. Of 447 distributed surveys, 222 (49%) were returned. Participants were divided into learners and teachers. Of the learners (n = 162), 6 (4%) had practiced intubation and 4 (3%) had practiced pericardiocentesis on a recently dead patient. Of the teachers (n = 30), 8 (27%) had had learners practice intubation and 4 (13%) had had learners practice pericardiocentesis on a recently dead patient. Of the students and teachers who practiced procedures on recently dead patients, none had obtained consent. The prevalence of practicing procedures on recently dead patients appears to be less than has been reported previously. Intubation is the most commonly practiced procedure on recently dead patients. None of the participants obtained consent before practicing a procedure.
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