The provision of futile medical care is a complex and emotive issue. There is no single answer that is right for everyone, and each case must be considered on its own merits. However, there are some general principles that can be considered when making a decision about whether to provide futile medical care.
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It is a difficult question whether futile medical care should be provided. On one hand, it could be argued that it is simply a waste of resources to provide care that will not achieve any positive results. On the other hand, some people might argue that even if the chances of success are slim, it is still worth providing care in case there is even a small chance of success.
ultimately, the decision of whether or not to provide futile medical care is a difficult one that must be made on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, it might be better to provide care, even if the chances of success are slim, while in other cases, it might be better to focus resources on other areas where there is a greater chance of success. Alexander(2020)
The first principle is that of autonomy. This principle holds that each individual has the right to make decisions about their own medical care, and that these decisions should be respected. If an individual does not want to receive futile medical care, then it should not be forced upon them.
The second principle is that of beneficence. This principle holds that medical care should be provided in a way that maximises the benefits for the patient. In some cases, providing futile medical care may be the only way to provide benefits for the patient, such as in the case of pain relief. Montero-Odasso,(2020)
The third principle is that of proportionality. This principle holds that the benefits of medical care should outweigh the risks and costs. In some cases, the provision of futile medical care may be disproportionate to the risks and costs involved.
Should futile medical care be provided?
Ultimately, the decision about whether to provide futile medical care must be made on a case-by-case basis. Consideration must be given to the principles of autonomy, beneficence, and proportionality, as well as the specific circumstances of the case.
1. Alexander, G. C., Emerson, S., & Kesselheim, A. S. (2021). Evaluation of aducanumab for Alzheimer disease: scientific evidence and regulatory review involving efficacy, safety, and futility. Jama, 325(17), 1717-1718.
2. Montero-Odasso, M., Hogan, D. B., Lam, R., Madden, K., MacKnight, C., Molnar, F., & Rockwood, K. (2020). Age alone is not adequate to determine health-care resource allocation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian Geriatrics Journal, 23(1), 152.
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