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  1. Physicians do not have a responsibility to provide futile or unreasonable care if a patient or family insists.

    Article - En anglais


    This article was written to argue that physicians are not ethically obligated to provide care which they consider futile, unreasonable, or both, either voluntarily or in response to patient or surrogate demands.

    Data Sources 

    Data used to prepare this article were drawn from published articles, including original investigations, position papers, and editorials in the author's personal files.

    Study Selection 

    Articles were selected for their relevance to the subjects of medical ethics, the concepts of futility and medical reasonableness, case law, and healthcare reform.

    Data Synthesis 

    Physicians may feel obligated to provide care in all clinical circumstances due to the single master view of medicine and the ethical principle of autonomy.

    However, care may be considered futile according to several definitions of that word, including that which describes futile treatment as something that does not benefit the patient as a whole.

    Furthermore, care may be considered unreasonable if it is excessive and not generally agreed upon.

    Physician refusal to provide futile or unreasonable care is supported by the ethical principles of nonmaleficence, beneficence, and distributive justice.

    The last principle is particularly relevant in the current climate of healthcare reform.


    Although the issue of physician refusal of requested care has not been resolved by case law or legal statute, it is supported by compelling ethical principles.

    Mots-clés Pascal : Soin intensif, Demande thérapeutique, Relation soignant famille, Relation médecin malade, Article synthèse, Indication, Ethique, Homme, Responsabilité professionnelle, Responsabilité civile, Etats Unis, Amérique du Nord, Amérique

    Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Intensive care, Therapeutical request, Health staff family relation, Physician patient relation, Review, Indication, Ethics, Human, Occupational responsibility, Civil responsibility, United States, North America, America

    Logo du centre Notice produite par :
    Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique

    Cote : 95-0322279

    Code Inist : 002B27B15. Création : 01/03/1996.