Chapter 12: Unjust Demands for Futile Treatment: When Treatment Should Cease

Mary Beth Morrissey’s chapter tackles an issue underlying many of the prior chapters. What can be done when family members insist on care that is futile, that is unlikely to have any medical benefit, possibly incurring increased or unceasing discomfort for the patient, and utilizing needed resources? Morrissey calls for increased professional and community education on advance directives, better care of and communication within the interdisciplinary team, and the use of ethical review policies. Most important, Morrissey also sees some remediation in the shift from an individualistic to a more ecological ethical paradigm.

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