Resolving family-clinician disputes in the context of contested definitions of futility

Gabriel T. Bosslet, Bernard Lo, Douglas B. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


The word futile has been a touchstone in debates regarding resolution of disputes regarding life-prolonging treatments since the 1980s. Here, we respond to several criticisms of the Multiorganization Policy Statement, “An Official ATS/ AACN/ACCP/ESICM/SCCM Policy Statement: Responding to Requests for Potentially Inappropriate Treatments in Intensive Care Units” (Bosslet et al. 2015). This response highlights the need for a strict definition of the word futile in order to avoid undue treatment differences when end-of-life interventions are contested. We also reply to several criticisms of this policy statement that are formulated upon fundamental misunderstandings of the statement and its assertions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-318
Number of pages5
JournalPerspectives in Biology and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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