Slow Code

TitleSlow Code
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsCassell, J, Siegler, M, Muller, JH
Corporate AuthorsAmerican Anthropological Association,
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsANTHROPOLOGY , MEDICINE , professional responsibility
AbstractFrancis Johnson was the first anthropologist to be hired for a newly created position of Clinical Social Scientist in a medical education program at a community teaching hospital. As part of a team research project, Johnson conducted ethnographic observations of "Code 99" events occurring on the evening shift- or when a team of doctors, nurses and technicians were called to try and resuscitate a dying patient. Although hospital policy demanded "coding" all patients who expired without a do not resuscitate order, Johnson soon realized that residents were selecting patients who would receive a "slow code" on the night shift. During a slow code, the response time would be slowed down so the patient passed away. Different staff members gave different reasons for a "slow code", but Johnson knew that documenting this practice would have large repercussions for the hospital and the staff.
NotesFrom the Handbook on Ethical Issues in Anthropology, edited by Joan Cassell and Sue-Ellen Jacobs. A special publication of the American Anthropological Association, number 23.
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