Futile medical treatment and patient consent
Martin L. Smith, STDAddress reprint requests to M.L.S., Department of Bioethics, P31, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195.
What are a physician’s ethical responsibilities when a patient or surrogate demands futile life-saving treatment? Recent attempts to define medical futility have implications for physician responsibility and may create exceptions to acquiring patient consent. Wording is proposed for a “futility clause” for use in do-not-resuscitate policies.