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
Date posted: February 27, 2012
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