Discussing Futility with Patients and Their Families

Discussing Futility with Patients and Their Families

In this talk, we will compare different definitions of futility, evaluate the benefits and detriments of different definitions of futility, determine situations in which medical care is futile as per different definitions of futility, discuss the disagreements that occur around futility and strategies to mitigate them, and embrace the medical provider’s responsibility in determining when treatment is non-beneficent and its importance in patient care.


Ira Bedzow, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director of the Medical Ethics Program, New York Medical College  (NYMC)


Ten Common Questions (and Their Answers) on Medical Futility.Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2015: 554-583.

Laying Futility to Rest.J Med Philosophy. 2015: 554-583.

(OPTIONAL) “An Official ATS/AACN/ACCP/ESICM/SCCM Policy Statement: Responding to Requests for Potentially Inappropriate Treatments in Intensive Care Units.American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2015. 191:1318-1330.




Discussing Futility with Patients and Their Families