The Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology listed several definitions for medical futility.
Definitions of medical futility related to the patient:
(1) the patient has a fatal/lethal disease that cannot be cured
(2) the patient's prognosis is for imminent death
Definitions of medical futility related to a therapy:- there is good evidence that a suggested therapy:
(1) cannot achieve its physiologic goal for the patient
(2) cannot help the patient or family achieve stated goals
(3) cannot and will not extend the patient's lifespan
(4) cannot enhance the patient's quality of life
A futile therapy that enhances the patient's quality of life may be worth providing as long as its limits are recognized.
Other considerations are the cost and the risk of side effects for the patient.
To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.