Intensive Care Medicine

, 34:2300 | Cite as

End-of-life care in Spain: legal framework

  • Lluís Cabré
  • María Casado
  • Jordi Mancebo
Legal and Ethical Issues on Clinical Research


Prominent cases affecting care at the end of life in critically ill patients have been reported in several European countries [1, 2]. These cases have fueled a necessary debate regarding the need of having a legal framework to appropriately deal with these issues [3, 4].

In Spain, there is no specific legislation regulating the withdrawal or withholding of treatment in end-of-life care or in critical patients on life support. However, the avoidance of inappropriate prolongation of life and the withdrawal or withholding of life support when the patient desires it or when it is considered futile is considered good clinical practice [5]. This decision takes place in the confidential context of the physician–patient relationship.

A few months ago, a patient who was permanently a ventilator dependent because of a progressive muscle dystrophia, asked for ventilator withdrawal. This patient, who had always complete consciousness to take decisions, was admitted in a hospital owned...


Brain Death Penal Code Spanish Society Persistent Vegetative State Assisted Suicide 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Servei Medicina IntensivaHospital de Barcelona. SCIASBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Observatori de Bioètica i Dret. UBCátedra UNESCOBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Servei Medicina IntensivaHospital de Sant PauBarcelonaSpain

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