Medical Futility: When Further Therapy Is Hopeless

  • Constantine Mavroudis
  • Allison Siegel


This chapter addresses the ethical issues regarding those situations in which medical and surgical therapy have failed and further action will not alter a patient’s clinical deterioration. The topic of medical futility is discussed at length, including the possible motivations behind its definition and the attempts to codify and define it in modern medicine. That this concept is so difficult to define and is unfortunately persistent in the care of high risk pediatric cardiac surgery and cardiology patients, makes it a very important subject with which congenital heart practitioners should be familiar.


Futility Congenital heart disease Philosophy Medical ethics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Constantine Mavroudis
    • 1
  • Allison Siegel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins All Children’s HospitalSt. PetersburgUSA
  2. 2.Editorial Consultant, Cleveland ClinicClevelandUSA

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