Depression and Capacity to Withdraw from Dialysis


Olivia Silva, Diana Jaber, Anthony Chiu, Cyrus Adams-Mardi, and Edward Wicht


A patient with a history of bipolar II disorder and end-stage renal disease who required hemodialysis for five years abruptly wished to withdraw from dialysis on day seven of her hospital admission for a urinary tract infection. She had never discussed wishing to withdraw from dialysis prior to this hospital admission. She had experienced several symptoms of depression during her stay. Her desire to withdraw from dialysis treatment was discordant with her previously expressed desires, and the psychiatry team determined that her judgment was likely altered by her depressive episode. Given her previous positive response to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the psychiatry team recommended that she receive ECT before she choose to withdraw from dialysis.




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