Medical Futility, Medical Necessity: The-Problem-Without-a-Name
Hastings Center Report. 1991 Jul-Aug; 21(4): 30-35.
...What I find most interesting about the struggles over medical futility and necessity is just the fact (watch that word!) that both began with the naive expectation that they could be solved with good medical information. Instead, they have forced a confrontation with a wide range of moral, economic, and political issues. They make us think over what medicine and health care are all about, what we should want to pay for, and how we can design ways of mutually resolving such problems. Life was easier when we thought medical "necessity" and "futility" were scientifically discoverable. Now we will be overwhelmed with things to think about. That will make it all the harder to manage public policy as a practical matter. But in another way that is all to the good. A failure to do full justice to the complexity is bound to result in a poor solution.
Allowing to Die; Autonomy; Bioethical Issues; Costs and Benefits; Decision Making; Family Members; Futility; Goals; Health; Health Care; Indigents; Justice; Life; Medicine; Moral Policy; Obligations of Society; Patient Care; Patients; Persistent Vegetative State; Physicians; Policy Analysis; Prolongation of Life; Public Participation; Public Policy; Quality of Life; Resource Allocation; Rights; Science; Social Sciences; Standards; Statistics; Technical Expertise; Uncertainty; Values; Withholding Treatment;
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