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Lack of Consistency Amongst Hospitals Regarding Brain Death Policies

Update Date: Dec 31, 2015 09:25 AM EST

According to a new study, not all hospitals in the U.S. are following the guidelines related to brain death. The researchers found that there is a lot of discrepancy in terms of incorporating the 2010 AANPP (American Academy of Neurology Practice Parameters) into the policy of the hospitals. Even though the policies are more congruent with the guidelines this time, compared to the pats year studies conducted by the researchers, but the hospitals are not 100% compliant said lead author David M. Greer, MD, professor and vice-chair, neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. "We still have work to do," Dr. Greer told Medscape Medical News. "It's really important that policies be in line with national guidelines, which we created to make sure that there was no misdiagnosis. This is one of those diagnoses where we need to be correct 100% of the time." The new study was published online on December 28 in JAMA Neurology.

For the purpose of the study, the researchers looked at 492 hospitals' policies of brain death starting from June 2012 to July 2015. During this study, the researchers found that the application of AAN policy parameters were highly inconsistent and varied significantly from one hospital to another. A staggering 43% stipulated that, as opposed to the AAN guideline, an attending physician could declare a patient brain dead. "Arguably, the more inexperienced the physician, the more prone to error he or she may be," Greer and colleagues wrote, according to Medpage Today.

In 2010, AAN (American Academy of Neurology) defined a clear set of guidelines to declare a brain dead patient and the one that might emerge from his comatose state. The idea was to ensure that he judgment was 100% correct and the most judicious call was made. But the researchers have found several hospitals that do not follow the correct procedure. "That's why we want to provide a very high level of accountability for this, and that's why we created the guidelines to be so specific, so straightforward and cookbook," said David Greer, reported I4U News.

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