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New guidelines on foregoing life-sustaining treatment in incompetent patients: an anti-cruelty policy.

, and . Ann Intern Med 104 (5): 711--715 (May 1986)

Abstract

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 änti-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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Braithwaite1986
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