View this essay on Medical Futility in Nursing Care Caring and

How does one adjudicate outside the legal system whether medical care is futile and whether such care should be continued or stopped?

Jecker, Nancy S. Ph.D.

Mohammed and Peter (2009) defines medical futility as medical interventions and treatments that will unlikely result in any positive outcome and urther divides it into two categories: physiologic and qualitative. Physiological futility involves interventions that are unlikely to produce a specific medical outcome that will resolve symptoms nor prolong the patient’s survival (Mohammed & Peter, 2009). An example of physiologic futility is performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on a patient with a ruptured dissecting aneurysm.


professional essay on Medical Futility And Ethics

A starting point to the resolution of this issue would be to look at medical futility in the treatment of the elderly and the ethics surrounding it.

The broad ethical concept of medical futility as well as the question on who should define it has increasingly continued to be a matter of debate at levels which have resonated with earlier thinking of Hippocrates and Plato. This problem has made a common presence in the context of resource allocation such as organ transplant allocation. Sometimes patients are given organ transplants which do not have benefits to them. Instead, the organs transplants get rejected once the operation has been done and this may result to death (Jecker, 1998).


In order to resolve conflicting interests, McGowan suggests a variety of methods that can be utilized to improve communication between the two parties including: making attempts to negotiate understanding between parties as to what constitutes futile care before conflict arises, using joint decision making, and using consultants to reach satisfactory resolution of disagreements. If these methods fail to help unite the parties’ decision an ethics committee may be utilized to reach a determination, the patient may be transferred to another medical provider within the institution or to another institution altogether (McGowan, 2011).highly subjective. "The public, policymakers, ethicists and the medical profession have been unable to agree on a clear, concise definition of futility that can be applied to all medical situations" (Coffey, et al. 2008, p. 12)....Abstract Research into trends concerning medical futility reveal that aggressive treatment at the end of life is not equating to better outcomes (Colello 2008). In fact, not only is it providing no benefit, all too often it imposes unnecessary pain and suffering. In the case of patients who lack decision making capacity and do not have an advance directive, families are often approached by nursing staff and asked “Do you want us to do everything?” or if they would prefer a Do Not Resuscitate status (DNR), meaning CPR will not be initiated if breathing or the patient’s heart were to stop. This sends a confusing message to families, that there is something worthy of offering their loved ones; when the reality is, there is nothing worthwhile left to offer. More often than not, despite a grim prognosis for the patient and the possibility of being in a persistent vegetative state (PSV), families routinely choose this option, largely because an informative conversation has never taken place as to the implications of these decisions. This is an issue which can no longer be overlooked. It is costing our nation dearly, both ethically and fiscally. As Americans, it is high time that we come to terms with our mortality and accept the reality that death awaits us all. Denial will not make it less likely to occur. As such, in an effort to promote awareness of this issue and the detrimental impact it has on patients and society as a whole, the following will define and explain the...When nurses and doctors experience conflict over the treatment decision, the treatment itself serves as the primary stimulant for the disagreement. Recognizing that other issues may trigger conflict may help doctors and nurses address conflict more constructively, and in turn contribute to nurturing the partnership between them. When nurses and doctors experience conflict due to over-treatment or futile care in the oncology setting and do not utilize tools that help them constructively address the concern, their relationship may be jeopardized. Robert Becker (2009), a senior lecturer in palliative care for Staffordshire University and Severn Hospice, Shropshire, recounts a number of common challenges confronting those who work in the medical profession in the article, "Palliative care 3: Using palliative nursing skills in clinical practice". Becker stresses that implementing a philosophy of care "which emphasises quality of life, holism, futility, family involvement and which sees death as a natural end of life is an enormous challenge…" (Becker 2009, p.1). Becker recommends a number of tools for medical personnel to utilize, however, Becker stresses that tools only prove to be as good as their users' competence and attitude.