How Physicians Talk About Futility: Making Words Mean Too Many Things
Solomon, Mildred Z.
Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. 1993 Summer; 21(2): 231-237.
[C]ommentators have argued that the concept of futility is vaguely defined and should not be used to guide decision-making near the end of life. In sum, there is a multiplicity of views about the proper definition of futility and serious questions about the concept's usefulness and logical coherence. Nevertheless, despite this variegated terrain, there has been broad implicit and explicit recognition that effective communication among health care professionals, patients, and families is essential for coming to decisions about withholding or withdrawing marginally beneficial life-sustaining treatments. The rationale for the study presented here is that it is crucial to consider communication and the role of physician-as-communicator in negotiating end-of-life decisions. The assumption is that the decision-making process will benefit by a careful examination of how physicians actually think and talk about futility in their everyday practice.
Allowing to Die; Artificial Feeding; Attitudes; Autonomy; Communication; Decision Making; Evaluation; Evaluation Studies; Family Members; Futility; Health; Health Care; Legal Liability; Life; Liability; Negotiating; Paternalism; Patients; Physicians; Prognosis; Quality of Life; Survey; Terminology; Values; Ventilators; Withholding Treatment;
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