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Futility: Is Definition the Problem? Part I
A physician recently asked how to respond in the case of an 87-year-old patient with advanced Alzheimer's disease, who was unable to swallow or tolerate a nasogastric tube, when the family insisted a gastrostomy tube be ...
Futility in Practice
...Much of the resistance to the notion of futility, we believe, derives from the fear that it will serve as a masquerade for less defensible motivations. For example, will its acceptance revive discarded abuses of medical ...
What Should Leah Be Told?
The Problem of Proxies With Interests of Their Own: Toward a Better Theory of Proxy Decisions
Patient autonomy is the cornerstone of our medical ethics. Given this commitment to autonomy, proxy decisions will always strike us as problematic: it is always more difficult to ensure that the wishes of the patient ...
A Catholic Perspective on Human Gene Therapy
The questions of changes in the human genetic program have been debated by world legislatures, churches, and scientific communities. Papal teachings emphasize a global respect for each patient and the sacred dignity of all ...
Medical Futility: The Duty Not to Treat
In this paper, we examine in closer detail the ethical implications of medical futility. Section one introduces an illustrative case involving a clearly futile medical treatment. Section two outlines three contrasting positions ...