AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. July 2012, Volume 14, Number 7.

Ethics Poll

Can Patients Really Share in Decision Making?

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

Cardiac resuscitation is unlikely to provide any benefit for a patient with multiple organ failure who will die shortly from those failures. In such a case, do you think it is helpful for physicians to make the "do not resuscitate" decision and allow the patients' surrogates to accept the physicians' judgment without asking for explicit consent from the surrogates?
Do you think that receiving statistical information about the probability of risk is helpful in medical decision making? Select the answer that best describes what you think.
Many drugs approved by the FDA are used to treat conditions other than the condition they were approved to treat. This practice is called "off-label use." Do you think patients should be informed and explicitly asked for their consent when a physician intends to use a drug "off label"? Select the answer that best describes what you think.