So I’m reading this post by The Happy Hospitalist (note: he sure does complain a whole hell of a lot for being ‘happy’) and I’d like some medical ethic weigh-in.
The HH describes an 88 year-old man whose heart stopped, so his brain didn’t get any oxygen. According to him, the wife believes the patient will make it home. According to HH, that’s an unrealistic expectation. So doesn’t this qualify as futile care? That the treatments involved will not meet the goals of care? And doesn’t a physician have a right not to provide care that is seen as futile? And also, doesn’t a physician have an obligation to “first, do no harm?”
I guess I’m asking from multiple perspectives, so I’d really like to hear people’s thoughts on this, from the ethical perspective, the legal perspective, and the practical perspective.
Teams I’ve been on have certainly done just as many treatments for people in situations like HH’s patient, so I’m not trying to call him out or anything, I’m just genuinely curious how others think through all of this. Thanks!