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Medical Futility and Maryland Law

Mid-Atlantic Ethics Committee Newsletter, Vol. 19, pp. 1-3, 2011

3 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2012  

Thaddeus Mason Pope

Mitchell Hamline School of Law; Queensland University of Technology - Australian Health Law Research Center; Saint Georges University; Alden March Bioethics Institute

Date Written: January 1, 2011


On November 30, 2010, over 200 individuals attended the Maryland Health Care Ethics Committee Network’s (MHECN’s) symposium on medical futility and Maryland law at the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. The conference focused primarily upon the intractable cases surrounding medical futility and whether Maryland’s Health Care Decisions Act (HCDA) is effective in providing ethical resolution. This article includes an explanation of medical futility and the disputes surrounding end-of-life treatment, specifically in connection to Maryland legislation. Most participants at the conference seemed to agree that revisions to the Maryland HCDA are needed. Providers need to 'stand up' for their patients. The tough work is designing a dispute resolution mechanism that can act with the real-time speed these cases demand, yet include sufficient safeguards to ensure due process protections like neutral and unbiased adjudication.

Keywords: medical futility, Maryland law, end-of-life, state health law, Maryland’s Health Care Decisions Act, HCDA, health care, Maryland Healthcare Ethics Committee Network

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Pope, Thaddeus Mason, Medical Futility and Maryland Law (January 1, 2011). Mid-Atlantic Ethics Committee Newsletter, Vol. 19, pp. 1-3, 2011. Available at SSRN:

Thaddeus Mason Pope (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Avenue
Room 320
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States
651-695-7661 (Phone)


Queensland University of Technology - Australian Health Law Research Center ( email )

2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000

Saint Georges University ( email )

West Indies


Alden March Bioethics Institute ( email )

47 New Scotland Ave
MC 153
Albany, NY 12208
United States


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