, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 91-98
Date: 14 Sep 2011

Handling Cases of ‘Medical Futility’

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Abstract

Medical futility is commonly understood as treatment that would not provide for any meaningful benefit for the patient. While the medical facts will help to determine what is medically appropriate, it is often difficult for patients, families, surrogate decision-makers and healthcare providers to navigate these difficult situations. Often communication breaks down between those involved or reaches an impasse. This paper presents a set of practical strategies for dealing with cases of perceived medical futility at a major cancer center.