Leslie Blackhall’s 1987 essay, “Must we always use CPR,” started a debate about medically futile treatments that continues to this day. Should doctors and nurses be obligated to provide treatments that they deem futile? How precise must determinations of futility be in order to ground unilateral decisions to withhold life-sustaining treatment? What rights do patients and families have to determine what treatments should or should not be provided? What should the law or public policy say about such decisions? For those who are interested, the Canadian Supreme Court recently heard arguments in a case about medical futility.
The fascinating oral arguments are available here: http://scc-csc-gc.insinc.com/en/clip.php?url=c/486/1938/201212100500wv150en,001Content-Type:%20text/html;%20charset=ISO-8859-1.
On Feb 5, three national experts in law and bioethics will discuss this contentious topic in a live webinar. They will briefly explain their own approach to futility cases, respond to each other, and take questions from the audience.
The speakers are: Robert D. Truog, MD Professor of Medical Ethics, Anesthesiology, and Pediatrics and Director of Clinical Ethics, Harvard Medical SchoolRobert L. Fine, MD, FACP, FAAHPM Clinical Director, Office of Clinical Ethics and Palliative Care, Baylor Health Care SystemThaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD Director of Health Law Institute and Professor of Law, Hamline University