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Wrong Medicine: Doctors, Patients, and Futile Treatment

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 09 December 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1581
  1. Charles Weijer clinical trials research group
  1. McGill University, Montreal, Canada

    Lawrence J Schneiderman, Nancy S Jecker Johns Hopkins University Press, pounds sterling21.50, pp 200 ISBN 0 8018 5036 3

    Medical futility—the idea that doctors ought to refuse demands for treatment that is unlikely to work, or that merely prolongs states of permanent unconsciousness or dependence on intensive medical care—is an idee fixe for Lawrence Schneiderman and Nancy Jecker. The concept has been criticised for packaging an uncontroversial claim, “patients can't demand treatments that won't work,” with a controversial one, “unconscious life or life dependent on intensive care is not …

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