The Concept of Medical Futility Analytical Essay by Nicky

An in-depth analysis of the issue of medical futility and the decision to withhold care.
# 146062 | 2,169 words | 10 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on Dec 15, 2010 in Medical and Health (General) , Law (General) , Aging (General)

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The paper explores the issue of medical futility from the standpoint of an otherwise healthy, elderly patient who has been injured. The paper discusses the complex social and legal issues involved and looks at the differing sets of criteria that have been developed with the intention of aiding doctors in their decision to withhold life saving treatment. The paper highlights the need for the development of criteria for making life-ending decisions among UK doctors.

What is Medical Futility?
Social and Legal Issues
Conclusion and Recommendations

From the Paper:

"When a doctor makes the decision not to treat a patient because they determine that treatment is medically futile, they are taking a big risk. In essence, they are playing God. In the case of the 82 year old, who was in otherwise perfect health, this issue can lead to some dangerous legal issues. The case is different where the patient has a terminal illness. All of us will die someday, regardless of the cause; we all will face our death. Old age could be considered to be a terminal illness because as people age, they come closer and closer to the inevitable. Many doctors feel that treating the elderly is futile, because they do not have that many years left anyway."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bagheri, A., Asai, A., and Ida, R. 2006. Expert's attitudes towards medical futility: an empirical survey form Japan. BMC Medical Ethics. June 2006, pp. 7-8. Accessed February 28, 2009 <>
  • Del Poze, R. and Fins, J. 2005. Death, dying and informatics: misrepresenting religion of Medline. BMC Medical Ethics. 6 (6). Accessed February 28, 2009 <>
  • Faunce, T. and Stewart, C. 2005. The Messiha and Schiavo cases: third-party ethical and legal interventions in futile care disputes. MJA. 183 (5). 261-263. Accessed February 28, 2009 <>
  • Gampel, E. 2006. Does Professional Autonomy Protect Medical Futility Judgments? Bioethics. 20 (2), 92-104.
  • Mason, T. 2008. Ellen Westwood: Unilaterally Refusing LSMT in UK. Medical Futility. July 10, 2008. Accessed February 28, 2009 < westwood-unilaterally-refusing.html>

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Concept of Medical Futility (2010, December 15) Retrieved February 23, 2020, from

MLA Format

"The Concept of Medical Futility" 15 December 2010. Web. 23 February. 2020. <>