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Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 133–139 | Cite as

Medical Futility and the Death of a Child

  • Nancy S. JeckerEmail author
Article

Abstract

Our response to death may differ depending on the patient’s age. We may feel that death is a sad, but acceptable event in an elderly patient, yet feel that death in a very young patient is somehow unfair. This paper explores whether there is any ethical basis for our different responses. It examines in particular whether a patient’s age should be relevant to the determination that an intervention is medically futile. It also considers the responsibilities of health professionals and the rights of family members in situations where an interventions is clearly futile.

Keywords

Medical futility Withholding and withdrawing treatment Ethics Goals of medicine Quality of life Beneficence Non-maleficence Patient’s age 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Medicine Department of Bioethics and HumanitiesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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