AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. January 2005, Volume 7, Number 1.

Module 5

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Case 5.3: Withdrawing or Withholding Treatment—Respecting Patients' End-of-Life Decisions

Option Comparison

Without reason to suspect that her decision-making capacity is compromised, all courses of action that override or circumvent Mrs. Scott's decision (options B, C and D) should be avoided.

Because the autonomous choices of patients to refuse medical treatment should be respected, option A is preferable.

Preferable: Option A

Avoid: Options B, C, and D

Additional discussion and information

The people and events in this case are fictional. Resemblance to real events or to names of people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.