Intractable Disagreements About Futility

Perspect Biol Med. 2018;60(3):390-399. doi: 10.1353/pbm.2018.0013.


This paper discusses the inevitable ambiguity of the language that we use to describe events that are rare and emotionally devastating. A search for precision in such circumstances may distract from more important issues. Neither families nor doctors need more precise language. Instead, they need more trust, more emotional transparency, and a recognition by doctors of the tragic nature of the decision they face.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making*
  • Emotions*
  • Medical Futility
  • Physicians