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2015 Volume 12 Number 3 July- September
- 2006 Volume 3 Number 2 April- June
- Risk Reduction Strategies:
Risk Reduction Strategies:
1. It is important to know the state law regarding medical futility and/or the withholding and withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures. As mentioned above, Florida Statutes do not recognize the concept of “medical futility” as it relates to a unilateral decision by the health care provider to withhold/withdraw life-sustaining procedures. Under Chapter 765, such decisions may only be made, under appropriate circumstances, by the patient or his/her alternate decision maker.
2. To avoid disagreements with the decision maker, it is advisable to provide not only full information, but a reasonable amount of time for the decision maker to fully digest, understand, and come to terms with the reality of the patient’s diagnosis and poor prognosis.
3. Disagreements will still happen. Resolution can sometimes be obtained with the involvement of social workers, clergy, and/or use of the hospital’s ethics consult mechanism.
4. When the health care providers continue to be in disagreement as to the provision of life-sustaining procedures, the best solution may be transfer of the patient.
5. Under Florida law, it is not advisable at any time to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining procedures against the wishes of the patient (as expressed directly or in an advance directive) or the patient’s alternate decision maker. In certain situations, it may be appropriate to seek judicial intervention. If this is believed to be necessary, the hospital’s legal counsel should be consulted.