Medical Futility Conflicts - Theory v. Practice

I recently
participated in a multi-session retrospective review of how a healthcare
facility implemented its medical futility policy. It reminded me of the gap
between legal and ethical analysis, on the one hand, and implementation at the
bedside, on the other hand.

I have written scores of articles and book chapters on medical futility. But it
was humbling to hear from those who actually had to coordinate communication
among numerous clinicians and between the clinicians and the family. It is not
an easy job.

I was reminded of 1975 film "Three
Days of the Condor." The main character played by Robert Redford works
"just writes books for the CIA" to explore and testing various
espionage scenarios. But he is not a field agent with a gun.

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