ORA Journal article: "Knowing when to stop: futility in the ICU." - uuid:5ac8e366-c724-443a-b7b4-45344732ece3


Journal article

Links & Downloads


Reference: Wilkinson, DJ and Savulescu, J, (2011). Knowing when to stop: futility in the ICU. Current opinion in anaesthesiology, 24 (2), 160-165.

Citable link to this page:
Title: Knowing when to stop: futility in the ICU.

Abstract: PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Decisions to withdraw or withhold potentially life-sustaining treatment are common in intensive care and precede the majority of deaths. When families resist or oppose doctors' suggestions that it is time to stop treatment, it is often unclear what should be done. This review will summarize recent literature around futility judgements in intensive care emphasising ethical and practical questions. RECENT FINDINGS: There has been a shift in the language of futility. Patients' families often do not believe medical assessments that further treatment would be unsuccessful. Attempts to determine through data collection which patients have a low or zero chance of survival have been largely unsuccessful, and are hampered by varying definitions of futility. A due-process model for adjudicating futility disputes has been developed, and may provide a better solution to futility disputes than previous futility statutes. SUMMARY: Specific criteria for unilateral withdrawal of treatment have proved hard to define or defend. However, it is ethical for doctors to decline to provide treatment that is medically inappropriate or futile. Understanding the justification for a futility judgement may be relevant to deciding the most appropriate way to resolve futility disputes.

Publication status:Published
Version:Accepted Manuscript
Funder: Wellcome Trust
Notes:Copyright 2011 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Inc. This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology 24(2), April 2011, 160-165.
About The Authors
institutionUniversity of Oxford
institutionUniversity of Oxford
Oxford, HUM, Philosophy, Philosophy Postholders
Bibliographic Details
Publisher: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Inc.
Publisher Website: http://www.lww.co.uk/
Journal: Current opinion in anaesthesiology see more from them
Volume: 24
Issue: 2
Extent: 160-165
Issue Date: 2011-4
Urn: uuid:5ac8e366-c724-443a-b7b4-45344732ece3
Source identifier: 192311
Eissn: 1473-6500
Issn: 0952-7907
Item Description
Type: Journal article;
Language: eng
Version: Accepted Manuscript
Member of collection : ora:journalarticle
Alternate metadata formats
Source of record content
Copyright Holder: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Inc.
Terms of Use: Click here for our Terms of Use