Futile Care Theory is bearing down on us now like a...well you pick the cliche`. But it isn’t a joke. If you want treatment, and the bioethics committee of a hospital thinks it is “non beneficial,” your stated desires mean very little.
Now the San Diego Medical Association has adopted a futile care policy. According to the SDMA, patients “always have the right to refuse treatment.” But it’s a one-way street—and your advance directive can be overruled. From the new “Model Hospital Policy on Non-Beneficial Treatment and Conflict Resolution”:
A healthcare provider or institution is not obligated to comply with healthcare instruction(s) or decision(s) that requires non-beneficial treatment or treatment contrary to generally accepted healthcare standards.
This agenda has been on the drawing board for a long time. Indeed, in an infamous 1970 editorial in the California Medicine (California Medical Association), an anonymous editorialist promoted “death control,” which, in a sense, is what we are now facing:
The traditional Western ethic has always placed great emphasis on the intrinsic worth and equal value of every human life regardless of its stage or condition . ... This traditional ethic is . . . being eroded at its core and may eventually be abandoned . . . [Hlard choices will have to be made . . . that will of necessity violate and ultimately destroy the traditional Western ethic with all that portends. It will become necessary and acceptable to place relative rather than absolute values on such things as human lives. . . . One may anticipate . . . death selection and death control whether by the individual or by society.
Well now it’s here, and “the bioethicists” and the medical intelligentsia are literally redefining the purposes of medicine. As that old California Medicine editorial predicted, life is ceasing to be an absolute value—even if you want to live—when the doctors and bioethicists think it isn’t “beneficial.” In such cases, what you think, or your family thinks, is irrelevant.
This is a duty to die, and once they force Futile Care Theory into ordinary medical practice, believe me, it won’t stop there.