A Critical Technico-Ethical Dilemma of Current Medicine
Castriotta, Richard J.
HEC (HealthCare Ethics Committee) Forum. 1993 Mar; 5(2): 77-82.
[T]he judgment of futility is more complex and problematic than it appears at first glance. There are three major concerns. The first is that the judgment of futility is assumed to be made on the basis of strong scientific fact, and in many cases the data are just not available to support many widely-held convictions about the "futility" of aggressive treatment in certain circumstances. The second is that judgments of futility are based upon probability and unlikely to be based on "no chance" statements. The third is that futility judgments must be based on a value system, but whose values should be used? All of these may be explored by considering the "futility" of aggressive critical care for the extreme elderly, i.e., those 85 years of age, or older.
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