Judging who should live: Schneiderman and Jecker on the duty not to treat

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 23 (5):500 – 515 (1998)
In this paper, I consider the thesis advanced by Lawrence J. Schneiderman and Nancy S. Jecker that physicians should be forbidden from offering futile treatments to patients. I distinguish between a version of this thesis that is trivially true and Schneiderman and Jecker's more substantive version of the thesis. I find that their positive arguments for their thesis are unsuccessful, and sometimes quite misleading. I advance an argument against their thesis, and find that, on balance, their thesis should be rejected. I briefly argue that a resolution of the debate about medical futility will require addressing deeper issues about value.
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