Aims of the research.
Negotiating natural death in intensive care
The aim of this study sought to determine how death and dying were understood and managed in two intensive care units in the UK. This was easily located for the reader as was stated in both the abstract and introduction. However, the reader only found out the narrower aim - concerning the resolutions that occurred following the problematic definitions between euthanasia, treatment withdrawal, and natural death – played a more integrated part of the study at the end of the introduction. Although it was introduced in the abstract, it could have been made clearer to the reader so they understood that it was a pivotal factor in the study, not just part of the literature review. If corrected this would have accounted for a more comprehensible and broader scope going into the article.
The way in which the data was collected.
The cases used for analysis in the current paper were based on a larger study of 14 cases conducted by Seymour in 1997. The data was from two different hospital ICUs within the same city in 1995 and the first two months of 1996. It was purposive sampling, so for participants to gain entry into the study they had to be in a critical condition and at a high risk of death. Along with this, patients had to be over the age of 18, not ‘brain dead’, and have a next of kin appointed. Participants were chosen who were critically ill as they were judged as being able to highlight the interactions that would occur between health care professionals and surrogates- next of kin and their health care team.. Participants who fitted these criteria were approached once they had been in ICU for no less than 24 hours and no more than 72 hours. Since participants were unable to give consent to the study, their surrogates were informed about the studies purpose and asked to partake. If the surrogate agreed, the individual was incorporated into the study and categorised into one of two groups; (i) had a 27% survival rate or (ii) the individual was not expected to live. Those in the study were observed from admission, to ICU, and then to after death or recuperation.
Why, or why not, the method chosen was appropriate
This study used the new ethnography techniques of interviewing, documentation, and observation to research the decisions made for critically ill individuals. These qualitative methods meant researchers had detailed case analyses throughout the participants’ ordeal, which could be used to see similarities and differences across cases. This constant comparative method is a grounded theory approach (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, in Seymour, 2000), whereby the research design inductively generates a tentative but explanatory and descriptive theory through analysing the cases. This interpretivist methodological approach was appropriate as it allows the in depth investigation into a limited number of cases as well as cross-case comparisons. Unstructured interviews are...