Bioethics Blogs

Doctors Ignore Advance Directives

I have written about the many reasons why advance directives might fail to prevent unwanted medical treatment.  Still, I was surprised to see so many recent studies showing how little impact advance directives have on treatment.  

It is not news that individual doctors practice style is a more important variable then patients’ own preferences in influencing the care they receive at the end of life.  But while these survey results should be shocking.

Another July 2015 study shows that medical orders were “incongruent” and “discordant” with patients’ previously stated preferences.  

Earlier studies similarly demonstrated that while patients with ADs are less likely to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation, they otherwise receive similar life-sustaining treatments compared to matched patients without AD.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.