The Corner

Keeping Patient Alive Can Be ‘Non-Beneficial Treatment’

The medical bureaucrats and technocrats are changing the meaning of definitions and terms to permit health care rationing and coerced withdrawal of care.

This is the “futile care” controversy, sometimes called “inappropriate care,” or in my parlance, “futile care theory.”

The idea is that when a doctor or bioethics committee believes the patient’s life not worth sustaining based on their values about quality of life or cost, wanted treatment — even that requested in an advance directive — can be unilaterally refused.

Futile care is akin to a restaurant posting a sign stating, “We reserve the right to refuse service.”

Now, a medical journal is upping the stakes by calling such interventions “non-beneficial treatment (NBT):” From the International Journal for Quality in Healthcare article (my emphasis):

The term NBT therefore reflects an objective inverse correlation between intensity of treatment and the expected degree of improvement in a patient’s health status, ability for survival to hospital discharge or improvement in quality of life.

Note that keeping the patient alive because the patient wants to stay alive isn’t mentioned. In other words, the medical technocrats and bioethicists are redefining the core purpose of medicine — maintaining life when that is wanted — and claiming that keeping a patient alive can be non-beneficial.

To whom? It is certainly beneficial to the patient under those circumstances!

Anyone who isn’t frightened by the prospect of technocrats, bureaucrats, hospitalists and other doctors, and bioethicists — strangers to the patient — deciding that continuing to live is non-beneficial hasn’t thought the question through.

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