SUSAN BRAITHWAITE, M.D.; DAVID C. THOMASMA, Ph.D.
When certain ailments are an overwhelming and irremediable encumbrance, treatment directed at other curable ailments, although life-saving, cannot effectively achieve the goals of medicine. We are morally constrained from perpetuating the effects of a hopeless injury without prospect of benefit to the patient. An anti-cruelty policy is proposed as a new guideline for foregoing life-sustaining treatment that transcends the doctrines of "substituted judgment" or "reasonable persons" for certain incompetent patients. We propose the use of "anti-cruelty care" as an active chart order or progress note, and suggest that institutional ethics committees or governing bodies recommend its implementation.
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BRAITHWAITE S, THOMASMA DC. New Guidelines on Foregoing Life-Sustaining Treatment in Incompetent Patients: An Anti-Cruelty Policy. Ann Intern Med. 1986;104:711-715. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-104-5-711
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1986;104(5):711-715.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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