ABSTRACT

Many people would agree that physicians are not obligated to provide "futile" medical care. If medical care is futile, a physician is not obligated to provide it. This chapter focuses briefly on the impact of the laws protecting the handicapped. There is an understanding among many physicians that a persistent vegetative state with no hope of regaining consciousness is worse than death, and they would not want their life prolonged in that condition. Physicians hate to make these decisions because they understand that they also are influenced by their own beliefs and prejudices. Physicians have very different feelings on what is, and what is not, appropriate use of health care funds.