Treatment Decisions in the Mentally Impaired
Loewy, Erich H.
New England Journal of Medicine. 1987 Dec 3; 317(23): 1465-1469.
Rejecting the "absolutist" stand that all forms of life-sustaining treatment are ethically mandated until a decision is made to discontinue treatment, the author probes the issue of how aggressively to treat mentally impaired patients of any age. He discusses the goals of medicine and the extent of the physician's obligation to sustain life, and then suggests guidelines that could be used to determine that certain types of treatment may be limited whereas others may not. These guidelines take into account the immediacy of the threat, the relievable suffering caused by the disease, the suffering produced by the treatment, and the patient's capacity for sustained understanding of the treatment and for cooperation with the regimen. (KIE abstract)
Aged; Allowing to Die; Biomedical Technologies; Brain; Brain Death; Chronically Ill; Critically Ill; Death; Decision Making; Dementia; Disease; Ethics; Forms; Goals; Guidelines; Life; Medical Ethics; Medicine; Moral Obligations; Moral Policy; Newborns; Patient Care; Patients; Physicians; Prolongation of Life; Quality of Life; Resuscitation; Resuscitation Orders; Risks and Benefits; Selection for Treatment; Social Interaction; Standards; Suffering; Value of Life; Withholding Treatment;
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