Bioethics Blogs

Health Care Costs, Futile Treatment and Patient’s Rights

Earlier this week, Professor Colleen Cartwright, did a webinar for ISQua titled “Health Care Costs, Futile Treatment and Patient’s Rights.”

The presentation did not break a lot of new ground but provided a nice general overview of issues relating to end-of-life decision making.  What I especially liked was her use of “futile treatment” to encompass both treatment that is (1) unwarranted from a medical perspective and (2) unwanted from the patient’s perspective.

“Futile” is typically reserved for judgments framed as clinical and physiological.  But treatment can be inappropriate not only for those reasons but also because it is unwanted by the patient.  I tried to summarize this in this graphic.

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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.