Emergency medicine and futile care: Taking the road less travelled

O’Connor, Alan E., Winch, Sarah, Lukin, William and Parker, Malcolm (2011) Emergency medicine and futile care: Taking the road less travelled. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 23 5: 640-643. doi:10.1111/j.1742-6723.2011.01435.x

Author O’Connor, Alan E.
Winch, Sarah
Lukin, William
Parker, Malcolm
Title Emergency medicine and futile care: Taking the road less travelled
Journal name Emergency Medicine Australasia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1742-6731
Publication date 2011-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2011.01435.x
Volume 23
Issue 5
Start page 640
End page 643
Total pages 4
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Abstract Debate around medical futility has produced a vast literature that continues to grow. Largely absent from the broader literature is the role of emergency medicine in either starting measures that prove to be futile, withholding treatment or starting the end of life communication process with patients and families. In this discussion we review the status of the futility debate in general, identify some of the perceived barriers in managing futile care in the ED including the ethical and legal issues, and establish the contribution of emergency medicine in this important debate. We conclude that emergency physicians have the clinical ability and the legal and moral standing to resist providing futile treatment. In these situations they can take a different path that focuses on comfort care thereby initiating the process of the much sought after 'good death'.
Keyword Emergency medicine
Medical ethics
Medical law
Palliative medicine
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 7 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 9 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 01 Nov 2011, 15:51:04 EST by Matthew Lamb on behalf of School of Medicine