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J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2012-100683
  • Commentary

Just dying: the futility of futility

Press Release
  1. Julian Savulescu
  1. Correspondence to Professor Julian Savulescu, Faculty of Philosophy, The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Suite 8, Littlegate House, Oxford OX1 1PT, UK; julian.savulescu{at}philosophy.ox.ac.uk
  • Received 20 March 2012
  • Accepted 21 March 2012
  • Published Online First 13 August 2012

Abstract

I argue that Brierley et al are wrong to claim that parents who request futile treatment are acting against the interests of their child. A better ethical ground for withholding or withdrawing life-prolonging treatment is not that it is in the interests of the patient to die, but rather on grounds of the limitation of resources and the requirements of distributive justice. Put simply, not all treatment that might be in a person's interests must ethically be provided.

Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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