Futility by Any Other Name. The Texas 10 Day Rule

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Abstract

This commentary examines the ethics and law in the United States as they relate to the foregoing of life sustaining treatment when such treatment is deemed medically inappropriate. In particular the article highlights the procedural approach when there is disagreement between physicians and surrogates or patients as exemplified in Texas Law. This approach, although worthy in concept, may in practice invite opposition and dissatisfaction as it may be perceived as coercive and pitting the weak against powerful adversaries and interests, in addition to discouraging the exercise of professional virtues. Too inflexible an approach erodes trust, and furthermore the Texas law allows hospital ethics committees to move from an advisory non judgmental role to a quasi legal court with real legal power but no credentialing or oversight.

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