Responding to Requests for Non-Beneficial Treatment

Thaddeus Mason Pope

Mitchell Hamline School of Law; Australian Health Law Research Center, QUT; Saint Georges University; Alden March Bioethics Institute

January 1, 2012

MD-Advisor: Journal for the New Jersey Community, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 12-17, 2012

Is a physician required to provide medical care to a patient when the treatment is considered to be non-beneficial and even inhumane? Does patient autonomy trump sound medical practice at the end of life? Ethically, the answer to these questions is probably 'no.' Physicians generally try to avoid providing treatments that offer no benefit to their patients. 'Non-beneficial treatment' policies encourage physicians to attempt to resolve conflicts internally through communication and mediation. However, this is not always possible or successful. The American Medical Association policy cautions against withholding interventions: 'The legal ramifications of this course of action are uncertain.' This article addresses the implications of New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division's opinion in Betancourt v. Trinitas Hospital.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: Betancourt v. Trinitas Hospital, healthcare, death, dying, advance directive, end-of-life, surrogate, non-beneficial treatment, medical futility

JEL Classification: K32

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Date posted: February 27, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Pope, Thaddeus Mason, Responding to Requests for Non-Beneficial Treatment (January 1, 2012). MD-Advisor: Journal for the New Jersey Community, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 12-17, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2003494

Contact Information

Thaddeus Mason Pope (Contact Author)
Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )
875 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States
651-695-7661 (Phone)
901-202-7549 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com
Australian Health Law Research Center, QUT ( email )
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Saint Georges University ( email )
West Indies
HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com
Alden March Bioethics Institute ( email )
47 New Scotland Ave
MC 153
Albany, NY 12208
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.thaddeuspope.com
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