Ethical Issues: Futility Policies and Politics
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In Texas Legislators are having second thoughts about a controversial futile care law that allows hospitals to unilaterally terminate life support in patients with end stage illness. Under the terms of the state's "futile-care law," if a hospital review committee feels that further treatment of a patient is futile they can ultimately withdraw treatment after giving a patient's family 10 days to find another facility who will accept them. If no accepting hospital can be found the treating hospital can then end treatment, even if the family objects. As a result several high-profile cases have turned Texas into a right to life battleground.