Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1674522
 


 



Research Report: A Preliminary Analysis of Medical Futility Decisionmaking: Law and Professional Attitudes


Sandra H. Johnson


Saint Louis University - School of Law

Richard Weiner


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Vincent P. Gibbons


affiliation not provided to SSRN

David Eton


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jesse Goldner


Saint Louis University School of Law

1998

Behavioral Science and the Law, Vol. 16, p. 497, 1998
Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper

Abstract:     
The debate in medical futility decisionmaking centers on the conflict between a patient insisting treatment and a doctor refusing to furnish it. Courts have taken two disparate approaches to the legal status of medical futility. Believing that such legal ambiguity may reflect ambiguity in the medical profession itself, this research report sought to identify any emerging consensus among professionals handling medical futility issues.

The report explains the results of the Life Sustaining Treatment Survey, a nationwide survey of health care professionals at hospitals. Presented with a list of criteria, respondents assigned important ratings to the factors used in recent futility decisions at their institutions.

The resulting data suggests that there is no consensus among professionals in medical futility decisionmaking. The data supports at least three distinct approaches for making futility decisions: emphasis on the patients’ preferences; providing for the patient and family; and adhering to objective medical and social norms.

It is unlikely that the law will realize its full potential to regulate futility judgments until explicitly articulated professional standards emerge. This article advocates continued empirical research to document and test professional judgment principles. Such research may ultimately help identify factors that will form the basis for a consensus in medical futility decisionmaking.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 12

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Date posted: November 23, 2010 ; Last revised: December 3, 2010

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Sandra H. and Weiner, Richard and Gibbons, Vincent P. and Eton, David and Goldner, Jesse, Research Report: A Preliminary Analysis of Medical Futility Decisionmaking: Law and Professional Attitudes (1998). Behavioral Science and the Law, Vol. 16, p. 497, 1998; Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1674522

Contact Information

Sandra H. Johnson (Contact Author)
Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )
100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
United States
Richard Weiner
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Vincent P. Gibbons
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
David Eton
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Jesse Goldner
Saint Louis University School of Law ( email )
100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
United States
314-977-2776 (Phone)
314-977-3332 (Fax)

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