Battling “Futile care” and “Quality of Life” determinations in order to save loved ones

By Wesley J. Smith Doctors are incredibly knowledgeable. They understand when people are terminally ill or unlikely to survive a traumatic injury. But they are not infallible. People don’t die by the numbers. Some patients prove unexpectedly resilient. Sometimes true miracles occur, or at least there are no scientific explanations for the disappearance of diseases …

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Texas Futile Care Law Scorned by State AG

By Wesley J. Smith I have long believed that Texas’s futile care law is unconstitutional. Specifically, the law permits a hospital bioethics committee to kick a patient out of wanted life-sustaining treatment that is working–e.g., keeping the patient alive–based on the subjective values of doctors and the members of the hospital administration-appointed committee. A lawsuit …

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“Death Control” and the bioethics peril

By Wesley J. Smith Thousands of medical ethicists and bioethicists, as they are called, professionally guide the unthinkable on its passage through the debatable on its way to becoming the justifiable until it is finally established as the unexceptionable.  — Richard John Neuhaus If you want to see what is likely to go awry in …

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AMA Playing “Hide the Ball” with Futile Care Rule?

By Wesley J. Smith Futile care” is ad hoc health care rationing. It permits a doctor to refuse wanted life-sustaining treatment that is working, based on the values of the MD that keeping the patient alive is not the “medically appropriate” approach. The term “medically appropriate” in such cases is a misnomer. The “refuse wanted …

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Spanish girl at centre of “futile care” controversy dies

By Michael Cook A right-to-die case which has riveted Spain ended on October 9 with the death of a disabled 12-year-old girl. Andrea Lago Ordóñez had a rare degenerative condition which landed her in a hospital in Galicia, in the northwest of the country, for the last three months of her life. She was not …

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Hassan Rasouli, subject of historic decision by Supreme Court of Canada, waiting to be transferred out of hospital that wanted to remove him from ventilator

  By Dave Andrusko When last we wrote about Hassan Rasouli, the Supreme Court of Canada had upheld a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, which concluded that Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre had to go through a legally established futile care administrative process (the Consent and Capacity Board) and couldn’t unilaterally remove Rasouli from …

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The Futile-Care Revolution: Killing Them Softly

By Wesley Smith Editor’s note. Part of the reason for our year-long “Roe at 40” series is to provide historical background for what has come to bear ugly fruit. In this instance—a story that first appeared in the Weekly Standard in 2000 and reprinted in the December 2000 National Right to Life News—bioethicist Wesley Smith …

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MI Legislation Requiring Hospital Disclosure of Refuse-to-Treat Policy

By Wesley J. Smith Futile Care Theory (aka medical futility) permits doctors and/or hospital bioethics committees to unilaterally withdraw wanted life-sustaining treatment based on cost and/or quality of life. This isn’t because the treatments don’t or won’t work–e.g., physiological futility–which should never have to be provided. To the contrary, they are refused precisely because they …

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The Trouble With Futile Care Theory

By Wesley J. Smith I was pretty teed off about the Canadian doctors trying to force Hassan Rasouli off of wanted life-sustaining treatment. Then, when I found out that even though they were absolutely wrong in their “certainty” that he would never wake up, they still were considering trying to force him off of treatment, …

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Idaho Poised to Ban “Futile Care” Medical Discrimination

By Wesley J. Smith This is a great story of democratic governance.  Awhile ago, I was informed that Idaho was poised to pass a bill explicitly permitting futile care impositions based on quality of life.  It had passed one house unanimously under the radar as part of a larger bill, much of which was totally …

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Futile Care Theory: It Depends on Meaning of “Medically Inappropriate”

By Wesley J. Smith Definitions matter. That point hit me hard as I read an article that wants doctors to be given the right to stop treatment from a man diagnosed to be in a persistent unconscious condition. From “When Family and Doctors Disagree on When to End life” “In 2010, Hassan Rasouli had surgery …

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