Abstract

Conflicts between providers and patients or their families surrounding end-of-life care are both regrettable and extremely challenging, interpersonally and ethically, for all involved. These conflicts often implicate the concept of medical futility. The concept of futility is too often conflated with distinct concepts that are more ethically salient, including the fiduciary responsibility to assess surrogate decision-making, and distributive justice. By distinguishing these concepts from futility, it becomes clear that there are some situations in which forgoing life-sustaining treatment over objection is permissible, and perhaps even obligatory. But the justification lies in the constellation of rights and responsibilities surrounding surrogate decision-making, or in distributive justice, but not futility. Once futility is disambiguated from these other concepts, the practice of withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment over the objection of a valid surrogate or a competent patient, based on the alleged futility of such treatment, is more clearly described as involuntary passive euthanasia.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 415-422
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-25
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.