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Ethical Decisions in Terminal Illness

  • D. Kettler
  • M. Mohr
Conference paper
Part of the Topics in Anaesthesia and Critical Care book series (TIACC)

Abstract

Ethical decisions in terminal illness involve conflicts such as whether to withhold or to withdraw treatment, to perform a resuscitative attempt, or to allocate limited and expensive resources. Decision making has been complicated by the rapid progress in technology in intensive care and emergency medicine. A terminally ill patient is frequently unable to communicate and to express his or her will and preferences. Physicians often become a surrogate decision maker and have the responsibility of deciding whether to limit or withhold futile care. However, in terminal illness the definition of futility is not clear and is still a matter of discussion. Therefore, in the intensive and palliative care setting consensus among the diverse group of health care professionals is especially relevant. Despite a wide variety of personal beliefs and cultural and religious differences, decisions in ethical conflicts should be based on generally accepted principles such as respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice.

Keywords

Palliative Care Ethical Decision Ethical Theory Moral Rule Terminal Illness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Kettler
  • M. Mohr

There are no affiliations available

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