Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctors not obliged to carry out treatment they think “futile”

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 23 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1088
  1. Tony Sheldon
  1. Utrecht

    In a legal test case a Dutch court has ruled that contrary to the wishes of the next of kin a hospital is not obliged to return an 80 year old patient with cancer to intensive care if his condition deteriorates.

    A judge in Utrecht ruled that doctors were not obliged tocarry out treatment that they regarded as “medically futile.” The decision about what treatment to give was a medical one for …

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