The New York Times (3/14, A25, Belluck, Subscription Publication, 1.68M) reports a study published online on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found "family members who observed resuscitation efforts" of gravely ill patients "were significantly less likely to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression than family members who did not." The results "applied regardless of whether the patient survived; most did not, since frequently patients in such dire condition cannot be saved." The study "also found that the presence of relatives did not affect the results of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, did not increase stress on physicians or other members of the medical teams, and did not result in legal claims."
The Los Angeles Times (3/14, Kaplan, 692K) "Booster Shots" blog reports the researchers hypothesized "that a close-up view of the resuscitation efforts might 'help family members understand that everything possible to bring the patient back to life has been implemented." In the study, French doctors asked 570 relatives if they "wanted to watch the proceedings, and 79% said yes." The study found that "family members in the control group were 70% more likely to have PTSD 90 days later than those in the group that was invited to observe CPR." Additionally, the researchers claimed that family members who weren't present during CPR were more likely to have symptoms of anxiety and depression
The NPR (3/14, Knox) "Shots" blog notes that in addition to family members coping better, the "resuscitation teams say they didn't experience more stress when relatives were present because relatives didn't interfere with the process. And their presence didn't affect things like the duration of CPR or survival rates." According to the blog, "Stephen Borron, a professor of emergency medicine at Texas Tech University and the sole American among the study's authors, thinks it will 'raise the level of the conversation' in the US on allowing family members to witness CPR."