Medical Futility

Decent Essays
Nurses are faced with ethical dilemmas regarding medical futility often. Physicians, the care providers, and often the patients’ family, contribute to the decision-making process when medical futility exists and strive at a correct and ethical decision. “Medical futility is generally a term defined as treatment or clinical interventions that are not likely to result in benefit to the patient or produce the expected outcome.” (Terra, Powell) Applying the concept of medical futility poses significant ethical and moral predicaments. Central to any discussion about limiting or withholding medical intervention is essential to clinical utility and the ethical tenets of the patients justice and autonomy. Health care providers, including nurses, often find themselves in critical situations where the choice of treatment seems to lie in the hands of the patient’s family as the decision makers. In many of these cases, individuals dictate care and insist on treatments that may or may not be supported by the medical teams that are involved in that patients care. “Medical futility can be described as interventions that are unlikely to offer a reasonable expectation of recovery or…show more content…
Many patients and families in this situation have understood that all treatment options have been exhausted, and the focus then shifts to a peaceful, respectable, and comfortable dying process for the patient. The healthcare team desires what is best for the patient. As members of the health care team, nurses may often find themselves in situations where establishing patient wishes and preparing for end-of-life care decisions falls on them. According to evidence-based guidelines for initiating end-of-life care planning “discussions should be driven by the philosophy of hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”
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