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    STUDIA BIOETHICA - Issue no. 2 / 2012  
         
  Article:   THE INUTILITY OF THE MEDICAL TREATMENT AT THE END OF LIFE / INUTILITATEA TRATAMENTULUI MEDICAL LA FINALUL VIEŢII.

Authors:  .
 
       
         
  Abstract:  The Inutility of the Medical Treatment at the End of Life. Medical futility is an old concept used to describe a treatment that has no benefit for the patient. The definition of futility should include the goal of the treatment which might be a source of ethical dilemmas because the patient or the family’s goal could be different from the doctor’s purpose. The paper presents controversies about the medical futility’s definition from different point of view (opinion of quality of life’s proponents versus sanctity of life’s sustainers) and the qualitative and quantitative components of futility. The medical futility concept differs from rationing medical resource and should not represent an argument for doctors to overpower the patient’s family. The ethical dilemmas appear when the patient is not conscious or competent and there is a medical decision to be taken and the doctor and the family have different opinion about the utility of a medical intervention. The physician should not prescribe a futile treatment even if the patient or his family insists to do it because family hope the patient will improve. In order to solve these decision making dilemmas, an important issue is to respect the patient’s values and beliefs and to explain the patient and his family the limitations of medical science. Futility disputes are easier to prevent than to resolve and an essential point is using sincere and emphatic communication with patients and their families.

Keywords: Medical futility, End of life medical decisions, Quality of life, Sanctity of life

 
         
     
         
         
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