Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

The Last Remaining Way to Die

Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

The Last Remaining Way to Die

Article excerpt

In the November 1989 issue of Chest, researchers at the University of California, San Diego reported progress in understanding how people die in their sleep. A study of sleep patterns in 233 elderly nursing home residents found a high prevalence of periods in which the patients stopped breathing (apnea) or almost stopped breathing. Women who had displayed more respiratory disturbances had a higher death rate over a four-year period; this was not true of the men in the sample, however, apparently because they died from other causes first. The study also found a difference in mortality rate depending on the cause of the apnea-those patients who had upper airway obstruction were more likely to die during sleep than those with failure of the brain to initiate breathing.

So far, so good. However, the researchers conclude by asserting "the task for the future will be to determine how and when the survival of patients with sleep apnea can be prolonged." On this agenda, we may find another way to keep death at bay-the last remaining way to die undisturbed. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.