Human Exceptionalism

Pushing Futile Care

I appreciate Wesley asking me to help out while he is vacationing. So here it goes…

Posted by Bobby Schindler

Although I agree with some of what Dr. Fisher says in regard to our failing health care system, his underlying premise about how to fix it should concern us all. The good doctor is clearly promoting the extremely dangerous futile care theory that Wesley often writes about. From the article:

“How death is approached by the medical community has been further complicated by a growing patient-rights movement and an undermining of physicians,” he said. “Patients have been given more power to refuse appropriate therapy, and many have interpreted this change to mean that patients also have the right to insist on and receive inappropriate therapy.”

Here Dr. Fisher argues why we need futile care.

“We ask families to make the decisions,” he said. “We put the onus on the family to decide care. To me, that’s a dereliction of duty.” “Doctors provide patients with two things — skills and judgment — and judgment is by far the more important skill. Judgment comes from seeing hundreds of cases over a course of years,” Fisher said. “A physician consults with a family and should present all the rational options. But at some point the doctor has to say when attempts at curative care are no longer a rational choice.”

Once again we are seeing a major push from the medical community claiming that doctors should have the power to make final decisions regarding whether or not a patient should be provided care or even allowed continued care once treatment has begun.

One only has to think of Jesse Ramirez and Haleigh Poutre to recognize that giving doctor’s full authority on these matters will do little to help “fix” our national health care problems. Unless you are part of the crowd that believes the solution to health care problems is to stop treatment to those who are sick, weak or otherwise vulnerable.