The Meaning of Futility Through Conversation
Uris, Patricia Firme
HEC (HealthCare Ethics Committee) Forum. 1995 Sep; 7(5): 309-321.
...This essay describes some perceptions in Colorado of the complex issues surrounding the issue of medical futility. Principles of descriptive qualitative inquiry were used to obtain an understanding of the perceptions of medical futility and the proposed goals of GUIDe [Guidelines for the Use of Intensive Care in Denver]. In an essentially unstructured interview, eleven people from the Denver metropolitan area were asked to share their perceptions and experiences of medical futility. If the person was unfamiliar with the term or the work of GUIDe, the definitions and descriptions of GUIDe as previously discussed were shared. Of the eleven persons interviewed, four were health care providers (three physicians and a nurse), two were philosophers who teach bioethics, one was with pastoral services in an acute care setting, and four represented the lay public. Five were males, 10 were white, and all but two were known to hold at least one graduate degree from institutions of higher education. Four of the eleven participants were actively involved in the work of GUIDe. Outcomes of qualitative studies are meant to facilitate an enlarged understanding of a phenomenon and are not generalizable. The description of the participants is explicated only for the purpose of providing a context for understanding the findings.
Advance Directives; Allowing to Die; Attitudes; Attitudes to Death; Bioethics; Communication; Compassion; Death; Decision Making; Economics; Education; Family Members; Futility; Goals; Guidelines; Health; Health Care; Health Personnel; Life; Males; Physicians; Prolongation of Life; Psychological Stress; Qualitative Research; Quality of Life; Research; Survey; Values;