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Why the term ‘persistent therapy’ is not worse than the term ‘medical futility’
  1. Marcin Paweł Ferdynus
  1. John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Faculty of Philosophy, Lublin, Poland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marcin Paweł Ferdynus, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Faculty of Philosophy, Lublin, Poland; marcin.ferdynus{at}wp.pl

Abstract

The discussion around the use of the term ‘medical futility’ began in the late 1980s. The Polish Working Group on End-of-Life Ethics (PWG) joined this discussion in 2008. They offered their own approach to the issues regarding medical futility based on the category of persistent therapy. According to the PWG, ‘persistent therapy is the use of medical procedures to maintain the life function of the terminally ill in a way that prolongs their dying, introducing excessive suffering or violating their dignity’. In this paper I attempt to show that the term ‘persistent therapy’ is neither worse nor better than the term ‘medical futility’, but it captures different aspects and nuances. Additionally, the Polish social and religious background plays a significant role in shaping the category of persistent therapy.

  • ethics
  • terminal care
  • palliative care

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Footnotes

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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